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S H I K L E Y 









Haworth Edition 









Prefaces by Mrs. Humphry Ward 
Illustrated Crown 8vo 


Copyright, 1890, by HARPER i BKOTHMS. 

Printed in ths United States of America 






IV. MR. YORKE (continued] 44 





















XXII. Two LIVES 393 






XXIX. Louis MOORE 530 



NYMPH 576 










EDITION Page xxvii 

Views of places described in the work, reproduced from photo- 
graphs taken by Mr. W. R. Bland of Duffield, Derby, 
in conjunction ivith Mr. C. Barrow-Keene of Derby : 
RED HOUSE, GOMEKSAL (front} (Briar- 
mains) Frontispiece 

HARTSHEAD CHURCH (Nunnely Church) To face page 4 
RED HOUSE, GOMERSAL (from the gar- 
den) (Briarmains) " 150 


approach) (Ficldhead) " 192 

eral view) (Ficldhead) " 196 


OAKWELL HALL (interior) (Fieldhead) . " 206 

OAKWELL HALL (front) (Ficldhead) . " 212 

OAKWELL HALL (the garden) (Fieldhead) " 294 

BIRSTALL CHURCH (Kriarfidd Church) . " 606 

The tower only remain* of the church described. 


' SHIRLEY* was published in the autumn of 1849, two 
years after the appearance of ' Jane Eyre.' No book 
was ever written under more pathetic, more torturing 
conditions. It was begun very soon after the publica- 
tion of ' Jane Eyre,' amid the first rushings of the blast 
of fame ; it was continued all through those miserable 
and humiliating months of 1848, when the presence of 
Branwell at the parsonage was a perpetual shadow on 
his sisters' lives, when they never knew what a day 
might bring forth and would lie trembling and wake- 
ful at night, listening for sounds from their father's 
room where Branwell slept Branwell who had often 
threatened them in the delirium of an opium-eater and 
a drunkard that either his father or he would be dead 
by the morning. 

'Wuthering Heights' and * Agnes Grey' had ap- 
peared in December 1847, a few weeks after 'Jane 
Eyre.' During 1848 they seem to have been generally 
regarded as earlier efforts from the pen of the writer of 
' Jane Eyre ' ; and it was this misconception, in fact, 
which led to the first hurried visit of Charlotte and 
Anne to London in July, when Charlotte put into the 


hands of her astonished publisher the letter from him- 
self, addressed to Currer Bell, which had reached lia- 
worth Parsonage the day before, and so, nine months 
after its publication, disclosed the secret of 'Jane 

In these first interviews with her publisher thence- 
forward her friend also she was able to tell him that 
4 Shirley,' her second story, was well advanced. The 
second volume, indeed, was nearly finished by Septem- 
ber, when Bran well died. The end of the year, or the 
beginning of the next, should have seen its publication. 
The poor sisters may well have hoped, now that Bran- 
well's vices and sufferings distracted them no more, to 
pass into quieter and happier hours, hours of home peace 
and fruitful work. 

Alas ! one needs only to put down the bare dates and 
facts of the six months that followed, to realise the havoc 
that they made at once in Charlotte's heart, and in the 
history of English genius. Emily, the strong, indomi- 
table Emily who had borne with Bran well throughout 
more patiently, more indulgently than the other two- 
developed tuberculosis, the family scourge, at the very 
moment of Bran well's last struggle, and she left the 
house only once after his death. The tragic, the unbear- 
able story of those three months, during which Emily 
fought with death and would let no one help her, has 
been often told. The memory of them haunts any visitor 
to the little parsonage to-day. As one mounts the stone 
staircase, witli one's hand on the old rail, suddenly ghosts 
are there. Emily mounts before one, clinging to the 
rail, dragging her wasted frame from step to step. The 
laboured breath sounds once more through the small, 


quiet house, and the sisters in the dining-room below 
turn to each other in misery as they hear it. For it is 
Emily's spirit that still holds the parsonage ; amid all 
the memories of the house hers, fierce, passionate, in- 
scrutable is still pre-eminent. For she is the mystery. 
The others ' abide our question.' We can know Charlotte 
and understand poor Anne ; we shall never either know 
or understand Emily. 

For three months she battled for her life, in her own 
cruel way. The sisters, -vho saw her perishing, were 
helpless. She would accept nothing at their hands, and 
when the last whisper came ' If you send for a doctor 
I will see him now' it was too late. The suffering of 
the elder sister has left many piteous traces in her let- 
ters, and in 'Shirley ' itself. 'Moments so dark as these 
I have never known,' she writes on the very morning 
of Emily's death 'I think Emily seems the nearest 
thing to my heart in the world.' And when Emily 
is gone, and Anne also has set her feet upon the road 
that leads to the last shadow, Charlotte's poor heart is 
crushed between longing for the dead and fear for the 
living. She talks in March 1849 three months after 
Emily's death, two months before Anne's of the 
'intense attachment' with which 'our hearts clung to 
Emily,' and then she adds : ' she was scarce buried when 
Anne's health failed her decline is gradual and fluc- 
tuating, but its nature is not doubtful.' Yet in these 
spring days, between the two deaths, she has taken up 
her pen again. And she is cheered by the praise given 
to the early volumes of ' Shirley ' by Mr. Smith and Mr. 
Williams. 'Oh! if Anne were well,' she cries, 'if the 
void death has left were a little closed up, if the dreary 


word nevermore would cease sounding in my ears, I think 
I could yet do something.' 

But May comes, and Charlotte takes Anne to Scar- 
borough, thinks no more of her book hangs day by 
day, and hour by hour, on tne last looks and words of 
this gentle creature, this ardent Christian, who yet is of 
the indomitable Broiite clay like the rest of them, and 
leaves behind her no record of soft and pious imagin- 
ings, but a warning tale of drunkenness and profligacy, 
steadily carried out through all its bitter truth. By the 
end of May, Anne is in her grave, and Charlotte stays 
on a while by the sea, waiting for the mere passage of 
the days that may give her strength to go home and 
take up her work again. 

By the beginning of July, however, she had returned 
to Haworth. She writes to her friend in words that 
paint the very heart of grief : 

' All received me with an affection that should have 
consoled. The dogs were in strange ecstasy. I am cer- 
tain they regarded me as the harbinger of others. The 
dumb creatures thought that as I was returned, those 
who had been so long absent were not far behind. 

'I left papa soon, and went into the dining-room: 
I shut the door I tried to be glad that I was come 
home. . . But ... I felt that the house was all silent 
the rooms were all empty. I remembered where the 
three were laid in what narrow dark dwellings never 
more to reappear on earth. . . . The agony that was to be 
undergone, and was not to be avoided, came on. I under- 
went it, and passed a dreary evening and night, and a 
mournful morrow. To-day I am better.' 

During the weeks that followed she resolutely set 


herself to finish 'Shirley,' and some months later she 
beurs passionate testimony to the supporting, stimulating 
power of her great gift. ' The faculty of imagination,' 
she says to Mr. Williams, 'lifted me when I was sinking, 
three months ago (i.e. immediately after the death of 
Anne); its active exercise has kept my head above wa- 
ter since.' 

It was at the 24th chapter of her story that she began 
again ; it was with the description of Caroline's wrestle 
with death, Caroline's discovery of her mother, Caroline's 
rescue from the destroyer at the hands of Tenderness 
and Hope, that the poor forsaken sister filled her first 
lonely hours, cheating her grief by dreams, by ' making 
out,' as she had often consoled the physical and moral 
trouble of her girlhood. Mrs. Pryor's agony of nursing 
and of dread is Charlotte's. 

Not always do those who dare such divine conflict prevail. 
Night after night the sweat of agony may burst dark on the 
forehead ; the supplicant may cry for mercy with that sound- 
less voice the soul utters when its appeal is to the Invisible. 
' Spare my beloved/ it may implore. ' Heal my life's life. 
Rend not from me what long affection entwines with my 
whole nature. God of heaven bend hear be clement !' 
And after this cry and strife, the sun may rise and see him 
worsted. That opening morn which used to salute him 
with the whisper of zephyrs, the carol of skylarks, may 
breathe as its first accents, from the dear lips which colour 
and heat have quitted ' Oh ! I have had a suffering night. 
This morning I am worse. I have tried to rise. I cannot. 
Dreams I am unused to have troubled me.* 

Then the watcher approaches the patient's pillow, and 
sees a new and strange moulding of the familiar features, 


feels at once that the insufferable moment draws nigh, 
knows that it is God's will his idol shall be broken, and 
bends his head, and subdues his soul to the sentence he 
cannot avert, and scarce can bear. 

Happy Mrs. Pryor ! She was still praying, unconscious 
that the summer sun hung above the hills, when her child 
softly woke in her arms. No piteous unconscious moaning 
sound which so wastes onr strength that, even if we have 
sworn to be firm, a rush of unconquerable fears sweeps away 
the oath, preceded her waking. No space of deaf apathy 
followed. The first words spoken were not those of one 
becoming estranged from this world, and already permitted 
to stray at times into realms foreign to the living. Caroline 
evidently remembered with clearness what had happened. 

Thus did poor Charlotte, dreaming alone, make use of 
her own pain for the imagining of joy ; thus, sitting in 
her ' lonely room the clock ticking loud in a still house,' 
did she comfort her own desolation by this exquisite and 
tender picture of mother and daughter reunited, made 
known to each other, after years of separation and under 
the shadow of death. Caroline Helstone shall not be 
left in darkness and forlorn! Charlotte will bring her 
to the light place her in loving shelter. 

Mrs. Pryor held Caroline to her bosom ; she cradled her 
in her arms ; she rocked her softly, as if lulling a young 
child to sleep. 

' My mother ! My own mother !' The offspring nestled 
to the parent : that parent, feeling the endearment and hear- 
ing the appeal, gathered her closer still. She covered her 
with noiseless kisses : she murmured love over her, like a 
cushat fostering its young. 


Then from the ecstasy of mother and child, the ' maker' 
passed on to the love-story of Shirley and Louis Moore 
Shirley who stood in Charlotte's mind, as she herself 
tells us, for Emity. Emily lay under the floor of the 
old church, a stone's throw from Charlotte, as she wrote ; 
and Charlotte, looking up at each passing sound, would 
be clutched anew, hour after hour, by the thought of 
Emily's pain, Emily's death-anguish, the waste of Emily's 
genius. But as the small writing covered the advancing 
page, Emily lived again grown rich, beautiful, happy. 
Her dog, old Tartar, rambled beside her; the glow of 
health is on her cheek ; she has a lover, and a wedding- 
dress ; length of days and of joy both are secured to 
her. One may say what one will of these last chapters 
of ' Shirley.' Louis Moore is no favourite with any 
reader of the Brontes ; his courting of Shirley has noth- 
ing to do with the realities either of love or of the male 
human being; his very creation involves a certain dull- 
ing and weakening of Charlotte's faculty a certain 
morbidness also. But those who recall the circumstances 
of 'Shirley's' composition will for ever forgive him; 
they will remember how tired and trembling was the 
hand that drew him ; how he stood in Charlotte's sad 
fancy for protecting strength, and passionate homage, 
for all that Emily would never know, and all that the 
woman in Charlotte, at that desolate moment of her life, 
most yearned to know. 



There can be no question, however, that 'Shirley,' 
from a literary point of view, suffered seriously from the 
tension and distraction of mind amid which it was com- 
posed. It was neither the unity, the agreeable old- 
fashioned unity of 'Jane Eyre,' nor, as a whole, the 
passionate truth of ' Villette.' In the very centre of the 
book, the story suddenly gives way. The love-story of 
Kobert and Caroline has somehow to be delayed ; and 
one divines that the writer --for whom life has tem- 
porarily made impossible that fiery concentration of soul, 
in which a year or two later she wrote ' Villette ' hesi- 
tates as to the love-story of Shirley and Louis. She does 
not see her way ; she gropes a little ; and that angel of 
imagination, to which she pays so many a glowing tribute 
in the course of her work, seems to droop its wing beside 
her, and move listlessly through two or three chapters, 
which do little more than mark time till the divine breath 
returns. These are the chapters headed ' Shirley seeks 
to be saved by works,' ' Whitsuntide,' * The School Feast.' 
They are really scene -shifting chapters while the new 
act is preparing ; and the interval is long and the ma- 
chinery a little clumsy. ' Villette' also passes from one 
motive to another, from Lucy's first love for Graham 
Bretton, to her second love for Paul Eraanuel. But in. 
' Villette ' the transition is made with admirable swift- 
ness. As Graham Bretton recedes, parri passu, Paul 
Emanuel advances. The two themes are interwoven ; 
the book never ceases to be an organism ; there is no 
faltering in the writer, no uncertainty in the touch. 


Invention full and warm flows through it in a never 
slackening tide ; there are few or none of the cold and 
superfluous passages that disfigure the middle region of 

* Shirley.' 

Signs of the same momentary failure in the artist's 
fusing and vivifying power are numerous also in the 
style of ' Shirley,' as compared with the style of ' Yil- 
lette.' Commonplaces writ large; a tendency to pro- 
duce pages of ' copy,' pages that any ' descriptive report- 
er' could do as well ; an Extravagance which is not power, 
but rather a kind of womanish violence ; and a humour 
j\lso that sometimes leaves the scene on which it is turned 
colder and more laboured than it found it these are 
some of the faults that attach especially to the central 
scenes of ' Shirley,' to the many pages devoted to Shirley's 
charitable plans, to the school-treat, to the curates, to the 
old maids. Take these sentences, for instance, from the 
account of Miss Ainley : ' Sincerity is never ludicrous ; it 
is always respectable. Whether truth be it religious or 
moral truth speak eloquently and in well -chosen lan- 
guage or not, its voice should be heard with reverence. 
Let those who cannot nicely, and with certainty, discern 
the difference between those of hypocrisy and those of 
sincerity, never presume to laugh at all, lest they should 
have the miserable misfortune to laugh in the wrong 
place and commit impiety when they think they are 
achieving wit.' 

A great creative artist, an artist capable of writing a 

* Villette' does not drop into surplusage of this kind, un- 
less there is some sterilising and hostile influence over- 
shadowing her. In her happy hour she will fall upon 
sentences like this and sweep them from the page, or 

xviii SHIRLEY 

rather she will never conceive them. Humble truth, 
modest piety, the scorner to be scorned no need then 
to talk or prate about them. She sees them in act as 
they live, and move, and walk ; and she records the 
vision not any personal opinion about them. 


Nevertheless, it may be argued, and with truth, that 
even these slacker and more diffuse chapters of the story 
have a real and abiding interest for the student of Eng- 
lish manners that this clerical, middle-class, country 
life was intimately known to Charlotte Bronte, and that 
the portraits of Mr. Helstone, Cyril Hall, the Curates, 
and the rest, have at least an historical interest. And 
indeed the matter, the subject, is rich enough ; it is 
the matter of Jane Austen, of 'Middlemareh,' and the 
'Scenes from Clerical Life,' of Trollope and Mrs. Gaskell, 
of half the eminent and most of the readable novels of 
English life. Charlotte Bronte presents it with force 
and knowledge, often with bursts of poetic or satiric ob- 
servation, but without either the humour or the charm 
that other English hands have been able to give it. This 
country and clerical life, though as a human being she 
was part of it, was not her subject in literature ; let any- 
one compare the relative failure of 'Shirley' with the 
unwavering power and mastery of 'Villette.' It was 
in the play of personal passion, set amid the foreign 
scenes of 'Villette' scenes that stirred her curiosity, 
her wrath, her fancy, as novelty and change must al- 
ways stir the poetic, as distinguished from the critical 


or humorous genius, that Charlotte at last found her 
best, her crowning opportunity. 

The men, for instance, of * Shirley,' on their first ap- 
pearance roused a protest among readers and reviewers 
that can only be repeated now. Among them Mr. Hel- 
stone makes, on the whole, the best impression. Miss 
Bronte drew him from experience, or at least from a 
germ of reality sufficient to give life and persuasiveness 
to the creation that sprang from it. Mr. Robersou, of 
Heald's Hall, the indomitable fighting parson of the 
thirties, who was the original of Helstone, little knew 
to whom he was preaching, when at the consecration of 
a church near Haworth in 1826 he numbered among his 
hearers a child of ten years old, small, sharp-faced, with 
bright dreamy eyes. ' I never saw him but that once,' 
Miss Bronte said later to Mr. Williams. But he was 
known to her father; his character and exploits made 
an impression in her neighbourhood ; she heard much of 
him, and probably his truculent Tory virtues raised him 
to hero -height in the fancy of an infant worshipper of 
Wellington and hater of Lord Grey. This was not much 
foundation, but it was enough. Helstone has life and 
truth ; his hardness or violence, his courtesies and his 
scorns, his rare tendernesses, his unconquerable reserves, 
his smaller habits and gestures are finely studied, finely 
rendered. But he alone and Martin Yorke have any 
convincing veracious quality among the men of the book. 
Mr. Yorke also was studied from life, but the writer has 
reproduced only the incongruities and oddities of the 
character, not the unity of the man. Robert Moore is 
ingeniously imagined and often interesting. But at the 
critical moment of the book the cloud of sorrow and be- 


wilderraent that descended on the mind of the writer, 
dulling nerve and vision, blurs him also, so that he seems 
to dissolve and break up, to be no longer a man and an 

And Louis Moore! When her friendly critics in Corn- 
hill, Mr. Williams and Mr. Taylor, sent her during the 
progress of the book which they were allowed to see 
in manuscript some 'complaints' of her heroes, Char- 
lotte answered in much depression, that her critics were 
probably justified. ' When I write about women I am 
sure of my ground in the other case I am not so sure.' 
Anrl once or twice, in meeting criticisms on 'Jane E}Te' 
or 'Shirley,' she says with perfect frankness that it may 
all be very true. She has seen too little of society ; 
known too little of men. Yet all the time she had with- 
in her that store of passionate and complete observation, 
whence, later on, Paul Eraanuel was to rise and have his 
being. And she was by no means meek in her general 
estimate of the power of women to describe and pene- 
trate men in fiction. There is a passage in ' Shirley ' 
where Miss Keeldar, after pouring scorn on some of 
the well-known heroines of men's novels, maintains, 
with warmth, that in fiction women read men more 
truly than men are able to read women ; and one hears 
through her animated talk the voice of Charlotte her- 

That Charlotte Bronte, under adequate stimulus, could 
draw a living man with truth, humour and variety, Paul 
Emanuel is there to testify. No single atom of true ex- 
perience was ever lost upon her genius. But her shyness; 
and silence allowed her too little of this experience, and 
in the pure play of imagination she was inferior, in deal. 


ing with character, to her sister Emily. Emily knew 
less of men personally than Charlotte. But she had no 
illusions about them, and Charlotte had many. Emily is 
the true creator, using the most limited material in the 
puissant, detached impersonal way that belongs only to 
the highest gifts the way of Shakespeare. Charlotte 
is often parochial, womanish, and morbid in her imagina- 
tion of men and their relation to women ; Emily who has 
known two men only, her father and her brother, and 
derives all other knowledge of the sex from books, from 
Tabby's talk in the kitchen, from the forms and features 
she passes in the village street, or on the moors Emily 
can create a Heathcliff, a Hareton Earnshaw, a Joseph, 
an Edgar Linton, with equal force, passion, and indiffer- 
ence. All of them up to a certain point, owing to the 
fact that she knows nothing of certain ground-truths of 
life, are equally false ; but beyond that point all have 
the same magnificent, careless truth of imagination. She 
never bowed before her creatures, in a sort of personal 
subjection to them, as Charlotte did. 

Again, nothing is more curious than to compare Char- 
lotte Bronte's conceptions of Rochester and the two 
Moores, her painting of the relations between these heroes 
and the women of the piece, with the ideas and concep- 
tions of George Sand in almost all her earlier stories. 
To Jane Eyre, Rochester is ' my master ' from first to 
last; Louis Moore is the tutor and the tyrant even in 
love-making; Paul Emanuel, for all his foibles and tem- 
pers that make him so welcome and so real, is still in 
relation to the woman he loves, the captor, the teacher, 
the breaker-in. And there is plenty of evidence in Miss 
Bronte's letters, and in what is known of her married life, 


to show that this, in fact, was her own personal ideal. 
She had battled with the world, and she dreamed of 
rest ; she had been forced to exercise her own will with 
so strong and unceasing an effort, that the thought of 
dropping the tension for ever, of handing all judgment, 
all choice, over to another's will, became delight ; and, 
last and most important, what she did not know she 
glorified. But George Sand, alas! knew too much, and 
knew too well. No schoolroom imaginations are possible 
to her. The men she creates are handled with a large 
indulgence, half maternal, half poetic, that may turn to 
irony or to reproach, never to the mere woman's self- 
surrender. In general, as M. Faguet says, 'elle aime les 
types de femmes energiques et d'hommes faibles,' and 
this preference is the unconscious reflection of her own 
personal history. In her various love affairs she had 
always found herself in the end the better man; she had 
shaken herself free from fettering claims because the 
artist in her was much stronger than the woman, and 
the man of the present, seen in his actuality, had come 
to seem to her but a poor creature. She dreamed of a 
man of the future, and a marriage of the future. Mean- 
while, the men she imagines and describes in so large a 
number of her novels, the relations she draws between 
them and the women they love, betray her own secret 
consciousness of power and ascendency. Hence Lelia 
and Stenio, Edrne and Mauprat, Andre, Simon, and 
many more. 

The personal contrast, indeed, between the two writers, 
the two women, can hardly be conceived too sharply. We 
shall realise it a little, perhaps, if we try to imagine 
George Sand, after her early successes, and in the first 


glow of fame, marrying a country curate, without a tinge 
of letters, who encouraged his wife to give up the prac- 
tice of novel-writing, and in return * often found a little 
work for her to do ' in his study or the parish ; if we 
endeavour to think of her as submitting without a mur- 
mur, and finding in the quiet happiness of the simplest 
domestic life reward enough for the suppression of her 
gift and the taming of her soul. 


On the other hand in compensation could George 
Sand have imagined or drawn a Caroline Helstone? In 
all her work, did she ever penetrate as close to the ' very 
pulse of the machine' as Charlotte Bronte has done in 
this picture of Caroline? 1 think not. For delicacy, poe- 
try, divination, charm, Caroline stands supreme among 
the women of Miss Bronte's gallery. She is as true as 
Lucy Snowe, but infinitely more delightful ; she has the 
same flower-like purity and fragrance as Frances in the 
4 Professor,' but she is more tangible, more varied ; she 
can love with the same intensity as 'Jane Eyre,' but to 
intensity she adds an therial and tender grace that 
Jane must do without. The exquisite quality in her she 
shares indeed with Paulina in ' Villette'; but Paulina is 
a mere sketch compared to her. From the moment when 
in her ' soft bloom ' she first enters the Moores' sitting- 
room, to the final scene when Robert graciously rewards 
her faith and affection with a heart far below her deserts, 
she is all woman and all love. It is conceivable that she, 
being what she is, should have felt no jealousy of Shirley; 


that she should have drooped without complaining; that 
she should have preferred rather to die than hate ; to slip 
out of the struggle rather than make a selfish claim. Yet 
she is no mere bundle of virtues; hers is no insipid or 
eclectic goodness like that of Thackeray's Lauras and 
Amelias. What fortitude and courage even in her despair 
what tenderness in her relation to her new-found 
mother what daring in the dove, when the heart and 
its rights are to be upheld ! 

'Love a crime ! No, Shirley: love is a divine virtue 
obtrusiveness is a crime ; forwardness is a crime ; and both 
disgust : but love ! no purest angel need blnsh to love ! 
And when I see or hear either man or woman oonple shame 
with love, I know their minds are coarse, their associations 
debased. . . .' 

' You sacrifice three-fourths of the world, Caroline.* 

' They are cold they are cowardly they are stupid, on 
the subject, Shirley ! They never loved they never were 
loved !' 

' Thou art right, Lina ! And in their dense ignorance 
they blaspheme living fire, seraph -brought from a divine 

* They confound it with sparks mounting from Tophet !' 

Shirley Keeldar, too, is full of charm, though, as a con- 
ception, she has hardly the roundness, the full and deli- 
cate truth of Caroline. But the two complete each other, 
and Charlotte Bronte has expressed in the picture of 
Shirley that wilder and more romantic element of her 
own being, which found a little later far richer and 
stronger utterance in ' Yillette.' Caroline, Shirley, Mrs. 
Pry or delicacy, wildness, family affection these in- 


deed are the three aspects of Charlotte's personality, 
Charlotte's genius. So that they are children of her 
own heart's blood, spirits born of her own essence, and 
warm with her own life. 

Thus again we return once more to the central claim, 
the redeeming spell of all Charlotte Bronte's work 
which lies, not so much in the thing written, to speak 
in paradoxes, as in the temper and heart of the writer. 
If ' Shirley,' wherever the women of the story are chiefly 
concerned, is richer even than ' Jane Eyre' in poetry and 
unexpectedness, in a sort of fresh and sparkling charm 
like that of a moor in sunshine, it is because Charlotte 
Bronte herself has grown and mellowed in the interval ; 
because she has thought more, felt more, trembled still 
more deeply under the pain and beauty of the world. 
Untoward circumstance indeed makes 'Shirley' less 
than a masterpiece, distracts the thinking brain and 
patient hand, is the parent here and there of blurs and 
inequalities. But this is, so to speak, an accident. Grief 
and weariness of spirit dim the clear eyes, or mar the ut- 
terance of the story-teller from time to time. But the 
steady growth of genius is there all the same. ' Shirley ' 
is not so good a stor}', not so remarkable an achievement 
as ' Jane Eyre,' but it contains none the less the promise 
and potency of higher things than 'Jane Eyre' of the 
brilliant, the imperishable ' Villette.' 


Facsimile of the Title-page of the First Edition 




VOL. I. 






OP late years, an abundant shower of curates has fallen 
upon the north of England : they lie very thick on the hills ; 
every parish has one or more of them ; they are young enough 
to be very active, and ought to be doing a great deal of good. 
But not of late years are we about to speak ; we are going 
back to the beginning of this century : late years- present 
years are dusty, sun-burnt, hot, arid; we will evade the 
noon, forget it in siesta, pass the mid-day in slumber, and 
dream of dawn. 

If you think, from this prelude, that anything like a 
romance is preparing for you, reader, you never were more 
mistaken. Do you anticipate sentiment, and poetry, and 
reverie? Do you expect passion, and stimulus, and melo- 
drama ? Calm your expectations ; reduce them to a lowly 
standard. Something real, cool, and solid, lies before you ; 
something unromantic as Monday morning, when all who 
have work wake with the consciousness that they must rise 
and betake themselves thereto. It is not positively affirmed 
that you shall not have a taste of the exciting, perhaps 
towards the middle and close of the meal, but it is resolved 
that the first dish set upon the table shall be one that a 
Catholic ay, even an Anglo-Catholic might eat on Good 
Friday in Passion Week ; it shall be cold lentils and vinegar 


without oil ; it shall be unleavened bread with bitter herbs, 
and no roast lamb. 

Of late years, I say, an abundant shower of curates has 
fallen upon the north of England ; but in eighteen-hundred- 
eleven-twelve that affluent rain had not descended : curates 
were scarce then : there was no Pastoral Aid no Additional 
Curates' Society to stretch a helping hand to worn-out old 
rectors and incumbents, and give them the wherewithal to 
pay a vigorous young colleague from Oxford or Cambridge. 
The present successors of the apostles, disciples of Dr. Pusey 
and tools of the Propaganda, were at that time being hatched 
under cradle-blankets, or undergoing regeneration by nursery- 
baptism in wash-hand-basins. You could not have guessed 
by looking at any one of them that the Italian-ironed double 
frills of its net-cap surrounded the brows of a pre-ordained, 
specially sanctified successor of St. Paul, St. Peter, or 
St. John ; nor could you have foreseen in the folds of its 
long night-gown the white surplice in which it was hereafter 
cruelly to exercise the souls of its parishioners, and strangely 
to. nonplus its old-fashioned vicar by flourishing aloft in a 
pulpit the shirt-like raiment which had never before waved 
higher than the reading-desk. 

Yet even in those days of scarcity there were curates : 
the precious plant was rare, but it might be found. A certain 
favoured district in the West Biding of Yorkshire could 
boast three rods of Aaron blossoming within a circuit of 
twenty miles. You shall see them, reader. Step into this 
neat garden-house on the skirts of Whinbury, walk forward 
into the little parlour there they are at dinner. Allow me 
to introduce them to you : Mr. Donne, curate of Whinbury ; 
Mr. Malone, curate of Briarfield ; Mr. Sweeting, curate of 
Nunnely. These are Mr. Donne's lodgings, being the 
habitation of one John Gale, a small clothier. Mr. Donne 
has kindly invited his brethren to regale with him. You and 
I will join the party, see what is to be seen, and hear what is 
to be heard. At present, however, they are only eating ; 
and while they eat we will talk aside. 


These gentlemen are in the bloom of youth ; they possess 
all the activity of that interesting age an activity which 
their moping old vicars would fain turn into the channel of 
their pastoral duties, often expressing a wish to see it ex- 
pended in a diligent superintendence of the schools, and in 
frequent visits to the sick of their respective parishes. But 
the youthful Levites feel this to be dull work ; they prefer 
lavishing their energies on a course of proceeding, which, 
though to other eyes it appear more heavy with ennui, more 
cursed with monotony, than the toil of the weaver at his 
loom, seems to yield them an unfailing supply of enjoyment 
and occupation. 

I allude to a rushing backwards and forwards, amongst 
themselves, to and from their respective lodgings : not a 
round but a triangle of visits, which they keep up all the 
year through, in winter, spring, summer, and autumn. 
Season and weather make no difference ; with unintelligible 
zeal they dare snow and hail, wind and rain, mire and dust, 
to go and dine, or drink tea, or sup with each other. What 
attracts them, it would be difficult to say. It is not friend- 
ship ; for whenever they meet they quarrel. It is not 
religion ; the thing is never named amongst them : theology 
they may discuss occasionally, but piety never. It is not 
the love of eating and drinking ; each might have as good a 
joint and pudding, tea as potent, and toast as succulent, at 
his own lodgings, as is served to him at his brother's. Mrs. 
Gale, Mrs. Hogg, and Mrs. Whipp their respective land- 
ladies affirm that ' it is just for nought else but to give folk 
trouble.' By ' folk ' the good ladies of course mean them- 
selves ; for indeed they are kept in a continual ' fry ' by this 
system of mutual invasion. 

Mr. Donne and his guests, as I have said, are at dinner ; 
Mrs. Gale waits on them, but a spavk of the hot kitchen fire 
is in her eye. She considers that the privilege of inviting a 
friend to a meal occasionally, without additional charge (a 
privilege included in the terms on which she lets her 
lodgings), has been quite sufficiently exercised of late. The 


present week is yet but at Thursday, and on Monday, Mr. 
Malone, the curate of Briarfield, came to breakfast and 
stayed dinner ; on Tuesday, Mr. Malone and Mr. Sweeting 
of Nunnely, came to tea, remained to supper, occupied the 
spare bed, and favoured her with their company to breakfast on 
Wednesday morning ; now, on Thursday, they are both here 
at dinner, and she is almost certain they will stay all night. 
' C'en est trop,' she would say, if she could speak French. 

Mr. Sweeting is mincing the slice of roast-beef on his 
plate, and complaining that it is very tough ; Mr. Donne 
says the beer is flat. Ay ! that is the worst of it : if they 
would only be civil, Mrs. Gale wouldn't mind it so much ; 
if they would only seem satisfied with what they get, she 
wouldn't care, but ' these young parsons is so high and so 
scornful, they set everybody beneath their " fit : " they treat 
her with less than civility, just because she doesn't keep a 
servant, but does the work of the house herself, as her mother 
did afore her : then they are always speaking against York- 
shire ways and Yorkshire folk,' and by that very token Mrs. 
Gale does not believe one of them to be a real gentleman, or 
come of gentle kin. ' The old parsons is worth the whole 
lump of college lads ; they know what belangs to good 
manners, and is kind to high and low.' 

' More bread ! ' cries Mr. Malone, in a tone which, 
though prolonged but to utter two syllables, proclaims him 
at once a native of the land of shamrocks and potatoes. 
Mrs. Gale hates Mr. Malone more than either of the other 
two : but she fears him also, for he is a tall, strongly-built 
personage, with real Irish legs and arms, and a face as 
genuinely national : not the Milesian face not Daniel 
O'Connell's style, but the high-featured, North-American- 
Indian sort of visage, which belongs to a certain class of the 
Irish gentry, and has a petrified and proud look, better suited 
to the owner of an estate of slaves, than to the landlord of a 
free peasantry. Mr. Malone's father termed himself a 
gentleman : he was poor and in debt, and besottedly 
arrogant ; and his son was like him. 


Mrs. Gale offered the loaf. 

' Out it, woman,' said her guest ; and the ' woman ' cut 
it accordingly. Had she fpllowed her inclinations, she would 
have cut the parson also ; her Yorkshire soul revolted abso- 
lutely from his manner of command. 

The curates had good appetites, and though the beef 
was ' tough,' they ate a great deal of it. They swallowed, 
too, a tolerable allowance of the ' flat beer,' while a dish of 
Yorkshire pudding, and two tureens of vegetables, disappeared 
like leaves before locusts. The cheese, too, received dis- 
tinguished marks of their attention ; and a ' spice-cake,' 
which followed by w r ay of dessert, vanished like a vision, 
and was no more found. Its elegy was chanted in the 
kitchen by Abraham, Mrs. Gale's son and heir, a youth of 
six summers ; he had reckoned upon the reversion thereof, 
and when his mother brought down the empty platter, he 
lifted up his voice and wept sore. 

The curates, meantime, sat and sipped their wine ; a 
liquor of unpretending vintage, moderately enjoyed. Mr. 
Malone, indeed, would much rather have had whisky ; but 
Mr. Donne, being an Englishman, did not keep the beverage. 
While they sipped, they argued ; not on politics, nor on 
philosophy, nor on literature these topics were now as ever 
totally without interest for them not even on theology, 
practical or doctrinal ; but on minute points of ecclesiastical 
discipline, frivolities which seemed empty as bubbles to all 
save themselves. Mr. Malone, who contrived to secure two 
glasses of wine, when his brethren contented themselves 
with one, waxed by degrees hilarious after his fashion ; that 
is he grew a little insolent, said rude things in a hectoring 
t jne, and laughed clamorously at his own brilliancy. 

Each of his companions became in turn his butt. Malone 
had a stock of jokes at their service, which he was accus- 
tomed to serve out regularly on convivial occasions like the 
present, seldom varying his wit ; for which, indeed, there 
was no necessity, as he never appeared to consider himself 
monotonous, and did not at all care what others thought. 


Mr. Donne, he favoured with hints about his extreme meagre- 
ness, allusions to his turned-up nose, cutting sarcasms on a 
certain threadbare chocolate surtout, which that gentleman 
was accustomed to sport whenever it rained, or seemed 
likely to rain, and criticisms on a choice set of cockney 
phrases, and modes of pronunciation, Mr. Donne's own 
property, and certainly deserving of remark for the elegance 
and finish they communicated to his style. 

Mr. Sweeting was bantered about his stature he was a 
little man, a mere boy in height and breadth compared with 
the athletic Malone rallied on his musical accomplish- 
ments he played the flute and sang hymns like a seraph 
(some young ladies of his parish thought), sneered at as 
' the lady's pet,' teased about his mamma and sisters ; for 
whom poor Mr. Sweeting had some lingering regard, and of 
whom he was foolish enough now and then to speak in the 
presence of the priestly Paddy, from whose anatomy the 
bowels of natural affection had somehow been omitted. 

The victims met these attacks each in his own way : Mr. 
Donne with a stilted self-complacency, and half-sullen 
phlegm, the sole props of his otherwise somewhat rickety 
dignity ; Mr. Sweeting with the indifference of a light, easy 
disposition, which never professed to have any dignity to 

When Malone's raillery became rather too offensive, 
which it soon did, they joined in an attempt to turn the 
tables on him, by asking him how many boys had shouted 
' Irish Peter ! ' after him as he came along the road that day 
(Malone's name was Peter the Rev. Peter Augustus 
Malone) ; requesting to be informed whether it was the 
mode in Ireland for clergymen to carry loaded pistols in 
their pockets, and a shillelagh in their hands, when they 
made pastoral visits ; inquiring the signification of such 
words as vele, firrum, helium, storrum (so Mr. Malone in- 
variably pronounced veil, firm, helm, storm), and employing 
such other methods of retaliation as the innate refinement 
of their minds suggested. 


This, of course, would not do. Malone, being neither 
good-natured nor phlegmatic, was presently in a towering 
passion. He vociferated, gesticulated : Donne and Sweeting 
laughed. He reviled them as Saxons and snobs at the very 
top pitch of his high Celtic voice ; they taunted him with 
being the native of a conquered land. He menaced rebellion 
in the name of his ' counthry,' vented bitter hatred against 
English rule ; they spoke of rags, beggary, and pestilence. 
The little parlour was in an uproar ; you would have thought 
a duel must follow such virulent abuse ; it seemed a wonder 
that Mr. and Mrs. Gale did not take alarm at the noise, and 
send for a constable to keep the peace. But they were 
accustomed to such demonstrations; they well knew that 
the curates never dined or took tea together without a little 
exercise of the sort, and were quite easy as to consequences ; 
knowing that these clerical quarrels were as harmless as 
they were noisy ; that they resulted in nothing ; and that, 
on whatever terms the curates might part to-night, they 
would be sure to meet the best friends in the world to-morrow 

As the worthy pair were sitting by their kitchen fire, 
listening to the repeated and sonorous contact of Malone's 
fist with the mahogany plane of the parlour-table, and to the 
consequent start and jingle of decanters and glasses following 
each assault, to the mocking laughter of the allied English 
disputants, and the stuttering declamation of the isolated 
Hibernian, -as they thus sat, a foot was heard on the outer 
door-step, and the knocker quivered to a sharp appeal. 

Mr. Gale went and opened. 

' Whom have you up-stairs in the parlour ? ' asked a 
voice ; a rather remarkable voice, nasal in tone, abrupt in 

' Oh ! Mr. Helstone, is it you, sir ? I could hardly see 
you for the darkness ; it is so soon dark now. Will you 
walk in, sir ? ' 

' I want to know first whether it is worth my while walk- 
ing in. Whom have you up-stairs ? ' 


' The curates, sir ! ' 

'What! all of them!' 

' Yes, sir.' 

' Been dining here ? ' 

' Yes, sir.' 

' That will do.' 

With these words a person entered a middle-aged 
man, in black. He walked straight across the kitchen to 
an inner door, opened it, inclined his head forward, and 
stood listening. There was something to listen to, for the 
noise above was just then louder than ever. 

' Hey I ' he ejaculated to himself ; then turning to Mr. 
Gale ' Have you often this sort of work ? ' 

Mr. Gale had been a churchwarden, and was indulgent 
to the clergy. 

' They're young, you know, sir they're young,' said he, 

' Young ! They want caning. Bad boys bad boys ! and 
if you were a Dissenter, John Gale, instead of being a good 
Churchman, they'd do the like they'd expose themselves : 
but I'll ' 

By way of finish to this sentence, he passed through 
the inner door, drew it after him, and mounted the stair. 
Again he listened a few minutes when he arrived at the 
upper room. Making entrance without warning, he stood 
before the curates. 

And they were silent ; they were transfixed ; and so was 
the invader. He a personage short of stature, but straight 
of port, and bearing on broad shoulders a hawk's head, beak, 
and eye, the whole surmounted by a Rehoboam, or shovel- 
hat, which he did not seem to think it necessary to lift or 
remove before the presence in which he then stood he folded 
his arms on his chest and surveyed his young friends if 
friends they were much at his leisure. 

' What ! ' he began, delivering his words in a voice no 
longer nasal, but deep --more than deep a voice made pur- 
posely hollow and cavernous : ' What ! has the miracle of 


Pentecost been renewed ? Have the cloven tongues come 
down again ? Where are they ? The sound filled the whole 
house just now. I heard the seventeen languages in full 
action : Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, the dwellers in 
Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and 
Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of 
Libya about Gyrene, strangers of Borne, Jews and proselytes, 
Cretes and Arabians ; every one of these must have had its 
representative in this room two minutes since.' 

' I beg your pardon, Mr. Helstone,' began Mr. Donne ; 
1 take a seat, pray, sir. Have a glass of wine ? ' 

His civilities received no answer : the falcon in the black 
coat proceeded : ' What do I talk about the gift of tongues ? 
Gift, indeed ! I mistook the chapter, and book, and testament : 
Gospel for law, Acts for Genesis, the city of Jerusalem for 
the plain of Shinar. It was no gift, but the confusion of 
tongues which has gabbled me deaf as a post. You, apostles ? 
What ! you three ? Certainly not : three presumptuous 
Babylonish masons neither more nor less ! ' 

' I assure you, sir, we were only having a little chat 
together over a glass of wine after a friendly dinner : settling 
the Dissenters ! ' 

' Oh 1 settling the Dissenters were you ? Was Malone 
settling the Dissenters? It sounded to me much more like 
settling his co-apostles. You were quarrelling together; 
making almost as much noise you three alone as Moses 
Barraclough, the preaching tailor, and all his hearers, are 
making in the Methodist chapel down yonder, where they 
are in the thick of a revival. I know whose fault it is it is 
yours, Malone.' 

' Mine ! sir ? ' 

1 Yours, sir. Donne and Sweeting were quiet before you 
came, and would be quiet if you were gone. I wish when 
you crossed the Channel you had left your Irish habits 
behind you. Dublin student ways won't do here : the pro- 
ceedings which might pass unnoticed in a wild bog and 
mountain district in Connaught will, in a decent English 


pariah, bring disgrace on those who indulge in them, and, 
what is far worse, on the sacred institution of which they are 
merely the humble appendages.' 

There was a certain dignity in the little elderly gentle- 
man's manner of rebuking these youths ; though it was not, 
perhaps, quite the dignity most appropriate to the occasion. 
Mr. Helstone standing straight as a ramrod looking keen 
as a kite, presented, despite his clerical hat, black coat, and 
gaiters, more the air of a veteran officer chiding his sub- 
alterns, than of a venerable priest exhorting his sons in the 
faith. Gospel mildness apostolic benignity, never seemed 
to have breathed their influence over that keen brown visage ; 
but firmness had fixed the features, and sagacity had carved 
her own lines about them. 

'I met Supplehough,' he continued, 'plodding through 
the mud this wet night, going to preach at Milldean opposi- 
tion shop. As I told you, I heard Barraclough bellowing in 
the midst of a conventicle like a possessed bull ; and I find 
you, gentlemen, tarrying over your half -pint of muddy port- 
wine, and scolding like angry old women. No wonder 
Supplehough should have dipped sixteen adult converts in a 
day which he did a fortnight since ; no wonder Barra- 
clough, scamp and hypocrite as he is, should attract all the 
weaver-girls in their flowers and ribbons, to witness how 
much harder are his knuckles than the wooden brim of his 
tub ; as little wonder that you, when you are left to your- 
selves, without your rectors myself, and Hall, and Boultby 
to back you, should too often perform the holy service of 
our church to bare walls, and read your bit of a dry discourse 
to the clerk, and the organist, and the beadle. But enough 
of the subject : I came to see Malone I have an errand 
unto thee, O captain ! ' 

' What is it ? ' inquired Malone, discontentedly ; ' there 
can be no funeral to take at this time of day.' 

1 Have you any arms about you ? ' 

' Arms, sir ? yes, and legs : ' and he advanced the 
mighty members, 


' Bah ! weapons, I mean.' 

' I have the pistols you gave me yourself ; I never part 
with them : I lay them ready cocked on a chair by my bed- 
side at night. I have my blackthorn.' 

' Very good. Will you go to Hollow's-mill ? ' 

' What is stirring at Hollow's-mill ? ' 

4 Nothing as yet, nor perhaps will be ; but Moore is alone 
there : he has sent all the workmen he can trust to Stilbro' ; 
there are only two women left about the place. It would be 
a nice opportunity for any of his well-wishers to pay him a 
visit, if they knew how straight the path was made before 

' I am none of his well-wishers, sir : I don't care for 

' Soh ! Malone, you are afraid.' 

' You know me better than that. If I really thought 
there was a chance of a row, I would go : but Moore is a 
strange, shy man, whom I never pretend to understand; 
and for the sake of his sweet company only, I would not stir 
a step.' 

' But there is a chance of a row ; if a positive riot does 
not take place of which, indeed, I see no signs yet it is 
unlikely this night will pass quite tranquilly. You know 
Moore has resolved to have the new machinery, and he 
expects two waggon-loads of frames and shears from Stilbro' 
this evening. Scott, the overlooker, and a few picked men, 
are gone to fetch them.' 

'They will bring them in safely and quietly enough, 

' Moore says so, and affirms he wants nobody : some one, 
however, he must have, if it were only to bear evidence in 
case anything should happen. I call him very careless. 
He sits in the counting-house with the shutters unclosed ; 
he goes out here and there after dark, wanders right up the 
hollow, down Fieldhead-lane, among the plantations, just as 
if he were the darling of the neighbourhood, or being, as 
he is, its detestation bore a "charmed life" as they say in 


talebooks. He takes no warning from the fate of Pearson, 
nor from that of Armitage shot, one in his own house and 
the other on the moor.' 

' But he should take warning, sir, and use precautions 
too,' interposed Mr. Sweeting ; ' and I think he would if he 
heard what I heard the other day.' 

' What did you hear, Davy ? ' 

' You know Mike Hartley, sir ? ' 

' The Antinomian weaver. Yes.' 

' When Mike has been drinking for a few weeks together, 
he generally winds up by a visit to Nunnely vicarage, to tell 
Mr. Hall a piece of his mind about his sermons, to denounce 
the horrible tendency of his doctrine of works, and warn him 
that he and all his hearers are sitting in outer darkness.' 

' Well, that has nothing to do with Moore.' 

' Besides being an Antinomian, he is a violent Jacobin 
and Leveller, sir.' 

' I know. When he is very drunk, his mind is always 
running on regicide. Mike is not unacquainted with history, 
and it is rich to hear him going over the list of tyrants of 
whom, as he says, " the revenger of blood has obtained satis- 
faction." The fellow exults strangely in murder done on 
crowned heads, or on any head for political reasons. I have 
already heard it hinted that he seems to have a queer 
hankering after Moore: is that what you allude to, 
Sweeting ? ' 

1 You use the proper term, sir. Mr. Hall thinks Mike 
has no personal hatred of Moore ; Mike says he even likes 
to talk to him, and run after him, but he has a hankering 
that Moore should be made an example of : he was extolling 
him to Mr. Hall the other day as the mill-owner with the 
most brains in Yorkshire, and for that reason he affirms 
Moore should be chosen as a sacrifice, an oblation of a sweet 
savour. Is Mike Hartley in his right mind, do you think, 
sir ? ' inquired Sweeting, simply. 

' Can't tell, Davy : he may be crazed or he may be only 
crafty or, perhaps, a little of both.' 


' He talks of seeing visions, sir.' 

' Ay ! He is a very Ezekiel or Daniel for visions. He 
came just when I was going to bed, last Friday night, to 
describe one that had been revealed to him in Nunnely Park 
that very afternoon.' 

' Tell it, sir what was it ? ' urged Sweeting. 

' Davy, thou hast an enormous organ of Wonder in thy 
cranium ; Malone, you see, has none ; neither murders nor 
visions interest him : see what a big vacant Saph he looks at 
this moment.' 

1 Saph ! Who was Saph, sir ? ' 

' I thought you would not know : you may find it out ; it 
is biblical. I know nothing more of him than his name and 
race ; but from a boy upwards, I have always attached a 
personality to Saph. Depend on it he was honest, heavy 
and luckless; he met his end at Gob, by the hand of 

' But the vision, sir ? ' 

' Davy, thou shalt hear. Donne is biting his nails, and 
Malone yawning ; so I will tell it but to thee. Mike is out 
of work, like many others, unfortunately ; Mr. Grame, Sir 
Philip Nunnely's steward, gave him a job about the priory : 
according to his account, Mike was busy hedging rather late 
in the afternoon, but before dark, when he heard what he 
thought was a band at a distance, bugles, fifes, and the 
sound of a trumpet ; it came from the forest, and he wondered 
that there should be music there. He looked up : all amongst 
the trees he saw moving objects, red, like poppies, or white, 
like May-blossom ; the wood was full of them, they poured 
out and filled the park. He then perceived they were 
soldiers thousands and tens of thousands ; but they made 
no more noise than a swarm of midges on a summer even- 
ing. They formed in order, he affirmed, and marched, regi- 
ment after regiment, across the park : he followed them to 
Nunnely Common ; the music still played soft and distant. 
On the common he watched them go through a number of 
evolutions, a man clothed in scarlet stood in the centre and 


directed them ; they extended, he declared, over fifty acres ; 
they were in sight half an hour ; then they marched away 
quite silently : the whole time he heard neither voice nor 
tread nothing but the faint music playing a solemn 

' Where did they go, sir ? ' 

' Towards Briarfield. Mike followed them ; they seemed 
passing Fieldhead, when a column of smoke, such as might 
be vomited by a park of artillery, spread noiseless over the 
fields, the road, the common, and rolled, he said, blue and 
dim, to his very feet. As it cleared away he looked again 
for the soldiers, but they were vanished ; he saw them no 
more. Mike, like a wise Daniel as he is, not only rehearsed 
the vision, but gave the interpretation thereof : it signifies, he 
intimated, bloodshed and civil conflict.' 

' Do you credit it, sir ? ' asked Sweeting. 

' Do you, Davy ? But come, Malone, why are you not 

' I am rather surprised, sir, you did not stay with Moore 
yourself : you like this kind of thing.' 

' So I should have done, had I not unfortunately happened 
to engage Boultby to sup with me on his way home from the 
Bible Society meeting at Nunnely. I promised to send you 
as my substitute ; for which, by-the-by, he did not thank 
me : he would much rather have had me than you, Peter. 
Should there be any real need of help, I shall join you : the 
mill-bell will give warning. Meantime, go ; unless (turning 
suddenly to Messrs. Sweeting and Donne) unless Davy 
Sweeting or Joseph Donne prefers going. What do you say, 
gentlemen? The commission is an honourable one, not 
without the seasoning of a little real peril ; for the country 
is in a queer state, as you all know, and Moore and his mill, 
and his machinery, are held in sufficient odium. There are 
chivalric sentiments, there is high-beating courage under 
those waistcoats of yours, I doubt not. Perhaps I am too 
partial to my favourite, Peter; little David shall be the 
champion, or spotless Joseph. Malone, you are but a great 


floundering Saul after all, good only to lend your armour : 
out with your fire-arms fetch your shillelagh ; it is there in 
the corner.' 

With a significant grin, Malone produced his pistols, 
offering one to each of his brethren. They were not readily 
seized on : with graceful modesty, each gentleman retired a 
step from the presented weapon. 

' I never touch them : I never did touch anything of the 
kind,' said Mr. Donne. 

' I am almost a stranger to Mr. Moore,' murmured 

' If you never touched a pistol, try the feel of it now, great 
satrap of Egypt. As to the little minstrel, he probably prefers 
encountering the Philistines with no other weapon than his 
flute. Get their hats, Peter ; they'll both of 'em go.' 

' No, sir ; no, Mr. Helstone ; my mother wouldn't like it,' 
pleaded Sweeting. 

' And I make it a rule never to get mixed up in affairs of 
the kind,' observed Donne. 

Helstone smiled sardonically ; Malone laughed a horse- 
laugh. He then replaced his arms, took his hat and cudgel, 
and saying that ' he never felt more in tune for a shindy in 
his life, and that he wished a score of greasy cloth-dressers 
might beat up Moore's quarters that night,' he made his exit ; 
clearing the stairs at a stride or two, and making the house 
shake with the bang of the front-door behind him. 



THE evening was pitch-dark : star and moon were quenched 
in grey rain-clouds gray they would have been by day, by 
night they looked sable. Malone was not a man given to 
close observation of Nature ; her changes passed, for the 
most part, unnoticed by him : he could walk miles on the 
most varying April day, and never see the beautiful dallying 
of earth and heaven ; never mark when a sunbeam kissed 
the hill-tops, making them smile clear in green light, or 
when a shower wept over them, hiding their crests with the 
low-hanging, dishevelled tresses of a cloud. He did noti 
therefore, care to contrast the sky as it now appeared a 
muffled, streaming vault, all black, save where, towards the 
east, the furnaces of Stilbro' ironworks threw a tremulous 
lurid shimmer on the horizon with the same sky on an 
unclouded frosty night. He did not trouble himself to ask 
where the constellations and the planets were gone, or to 
regret the ' black-blue ' serenity of the air-ocean which those 
white islets stud ; and which another ocean, of heavier and 
denser element, now rolled below and concealed. He just 
doggedly pursued his way, leaning a little forward as he walked, 
and wearing his hat on the back of his head, as his Irish 
manner was. ' Tramp, tramp,' he went along the causeway, 
where the road boasted the privilege of such an accommo- 
dation ; ' splash, splash,' through the mire-filled cart-ruts, 
where the flags were exchanged for soft mud. He looked 
but for certain land-marks : the spire of Briarfield church ; 
further on, the lights of ' Eedhouse. 1 This was an inn ; and 


when he reached it, the glow of a fire through a half -curtained 
window, a vision of glasses on a round table, and of revellers 
on an oaken settle, had nearly drawn aside the curate from 
his course. He thought longingly of a tumbler of whisky- 
and-water : in a strange place, he would instantly have 
realized the dream ; but the company assembled in that 
kitchen were Mr. Helstone's own parishioners ; they all 
knew him. He sighed, and passed on. 

The high-road was now to be quitted, as the remaining 
distance to Hollow's-mill might be considerably reduced by a 
short cut across fields. These fields were level and monoto- 
nous ; Malone took a direct course through them, jumping 
hedge and wall. He passed but one building here, and that 
seemed large and hall-like, though irregular : you could see 
a high gable, then a long front, then a low gable, then a thick, 
lofty stack of chimneys : there were some trees behind it. 
It was dark ; not a candle shone from any window ; it was 
absolutely still : the rain running from the eaves, and the 
rather wild, but very low whistle of the wind round the 
chimneys and through the boughs, were the sole sounds in 
its neighbourhood. 

This building passed, the fields, hitherto flat, declined in 
a rapid descent, : evidently a vale lay below, through which 
you could hear the water run. One light glimmered in the 
depth : for that beacon Malone steered. 

He came to a little white house you could see it was 
white even through this dense darkness and knocked at the 
door. A fresh-faced servant opened it ; by the candle she 
held was revealed a narrow passage, terminating in a narrow 
stair. Two doors covered with crimson baize, a strip of 
crimson carpet down the steps, contrasted with light-coloured 
walls and white floor, made the little interior look clear and 

' Mr. Moore is at home, I suppose ? ' 

' Yes, sir, but he is not in.' 

' Not in ! Where is he then ? ' 


' At the mill in the counting-house.' 

Here one of the crimson doors opened. 

' Are the waggons come, Sarah ? ' asked a female voice, 
and a female head at the same time was apparent. It might 
not be the head of a goddess indeed a screw of curl-paper 
on each side the temples quite forbade that supposition but 
neither was it the head of a Gorgon ; yet Malone seemed to 
take it in the latter light. Big as he was, he shrank bashfully 
back into the rain at the view thereof ; and saying, ' I'll go 
to him,' hurried in seeming trepidation down a short lane, 
across an obscure yard, towards a huge black mill. 

The work -hours were over ; the ' hands ' were gone ; the 
machinery was at rest ; the mill shut up. Malone walked 
round it ; somewhere in its great sooty flank he found another 
chink of light ; he knocked at another door, using for the 
purpose the thick end of his shillelagh, with which he beat 
a rousing tattoo. A key turned ; the door unclosed. 

' Is it Joe Scott ? What news of the waggons, Joe ? ' 

' No it's myself. Mr. Helstone would send me.' 

' Oh ! Mr. Malone.' The voice in uttering this name had 
the slightest possible cadence of disappointment. After a 
moment's pause, it continued, politely, but a little formally : 
' I beg you will come in, Mr. Malone. I regret extremely 
Mr. Helstone should have thought it necessary to trouble you 
so far ; there was no necessity : I told him so ; and on 
such a night but walk forwards.' 

Through a dark apartment, of aspect undistinguishable, 
Malone followed the speaker into a light and bright room 
within : very light and bright indeed it seemed to eyes which, 
for the last hour, had been striving to penetrate the double 
darkness of night and fog ; but except for its excellent fire, 
and for a lamp of elegant design and vivid lustre burning on 
a table, it was a very plain place. The boarded floor was 
carpetless ; the three or four stiff-backed green-painted 
chairs seemed once to have furnished the kitchen of some 
farm-house ; a desk of strong, solid formation, the table 
aforesaid, and some framed sheets on the stone-coloured 


walls, bearing plans for building, for gardening, designs of 
machinery, &c., completed the furniture of the place. 

Plain as it was, it seemed to satisfy Malone ; who, when 
he had removed and hung up his wet surtout and hat, drew 
one of the rheumatic-looking chairs to the hearth, and set 
his knees almost within the bars of the red grate. 

' Comfortable quarters you have here, Mr. Moore ; and all 
snug to yourself.' 

'Yes; but my sister would be glad to see you, if you 
would prefer stepping into the house.' 

' Oh, no ! the ladies are best alone. I never was a lady's 
man. You don't mistake me for my friend Sweeting, do you, 
Mr. Moore ? ' 

1 Sweeting ! which of them is that ? The gentleman hi 
the chocolate overcoat, or the little gentleman ? ' 

' The little one ; he of Nunnely ; the cavalier of the 
Misses Sykes, with the whole six of whom he is in love ha, 

' Better be generally in love with all than specially with 
one, I should think in that quarter.' 

' But he is specially in love with one besides, for when I 
and Donne urged him to make a choice amongst the fair bevy, 
he named which do you think ? ' 

With a queer, quiet smile, Mr. Moore replied, ' Dora, of 
course, or Harriet.' 

' Ha ! ha ! you've made an excellent guess ; but what 
made you hit on those two ? ' 

' Because they are the tallest, the handsomest ; and Dora, 
at least, is the stoutest ; and as your friend Mr. Sweeting is 
but a little, slight figure, I concluded that, according to a 
frequent rule in such cases, he preferred his contrast.' 

' You are right ; Dora it is : but he has no chance, has 
he, Moore ? ' 

' What has Mr. Sweeting, besides his curacy ? ' 

This question seemed to tickle Malone amazingly; he 
laughed for full three minutes before he answered it. 

' What has Sweeting ? Why, David has his harp, or 


flute, which comes to the same thing. He has a sort of 
pinchbeck watch ; ditto, ring ; ditto, eye-glass : that's what 
he has.' 

' How would he propose to keep Miss Sykes in gowns 

' Ha ! ha ! Excellent ! I'll ask him that next time I see 
him. I'll roast him for his presumption : but no doubt he 
expects old Christopher Sykes would do something handsome. 
He is rich, is he not ? They live in a large house.' 

1 Sykes carries on an extensive concern.' 

' Therefore he must be wealthy, eh ? ' 

1 Therefore he must have plenty to do with his wealth ; 
and in these times would be about as likely to think of 
drawing money from the business to give dowries to his 
daughters as I should be to dream of pulling down the 
cottage there, and constructing on its ruins a house as large 
as Fieldhead.' 

' Do you know what I heard, Moore, the other day ? ' 

' No : perhaps that I was about to effect some such 
change. Your Briarfield gossips are capable of saying that 
or sillier things.' 

I That you were going to take Fieldhead on a lease I 
thought it looked a dismal place, by-the-by, to-night, as I 
passed it and that it was your intention to settle a Miss 
Sykes there as mistress : to be married, in short, ha ! ha ! 
Now, which is it ? Dora I am sure : you said she was the 

I 1 wonder how often it has been settled that I was to be 
married since I came to Briarfield ! They have assigned me 
every marriageable single woman by turns in the district. Now 
it was the two Misses Wynns first the dark, then the light 
one. Now the red-haired Miss Armitage, then the mature 
Ann Pearson ; at present you throw on my shoulders all the 
tribe of the Misses Sykes. On what grounds this gossip rests, 
God knows. I visit nowhere I seek female society about 
as assiduously as you do, Mr. Me lone. If ever I go to 
"Whinbury, it is only to give Sykes or Pearson a call in their 


counting-house ; where our discussions run on other topics 
than matrimony, and our thoughts are occupied with other 
things than courtships, establishments, dowries : the cloth we 
can't sell, the hands we can't employ, the mills we can't run, 
the perverse course of events generally, which we cannot 
alter, fill our hearts, I take it, pretty well at present, to the 
tolerably complete exclusion of such figments as love- 
making, &c.' 

' I go along with you completely, Moore. If there is one 
notion I hate more than another, it is that of marriage : I 
mean marriage in the vulgar weak sense, as a mere matter 
of sentiment ; two beggarly fools agreeing to unite their 
indigence by some fantastic tie of feeling humbug 1 But 
an advantageous connection, such as can be formed in con- 
sonance with dignity of views, and permanency of solid 
interests, is not so bad eh ? ' 

' No,' responded Moore, in an absent manner ; the subject 
seemed to have no interest for him : he did not pursue it. 
After sitting for some time gazing at the fire with a pre- 
occupied air, he suddenly turned hig head. 

' Hark ! ' said he : ' did you hear wheels ? ' 

Eising, he went to the window, opened it, and listened. 
He soon closed it. ' It is only the sound of the wind rising,' 
he remarked, ' and the rivulet a little swollen, rushing down 
the hollow. I expected those waggons at six ; it is near nine 

' Seriously, do you suppose that the putting up of this 
new machinery will bring you into danger ? ' inquired Malone. 
1 Helstone seems to think it will.' 

' I only wish the machines the frames were safe here, 
and lodged within the walls of this mill. Once put up, I defy 
the frame-breakers : let them only pay me a visit, and take 
the consequences ; my mill is my castle.' 

' One despises such low scoundrels,' observed Malone, in 
a profound vein of reflection. ' I almost wish a party would 
call upon you to-night ; but the road seemed extremely quiet 
as I came along : I saw nothing astir.' 


' You came by the Bedhouse ? ' 


' There would be nothing on that road : it is in the direc- 
tion of Stilbro' the risk lies.' 

' And you think there is risk ? ' 

' What these fellows have done to others, they may do to 
me. There is only this difference : most of the manu- 
facturers seem paralyzed when they are attacked. Sykes, 
for instance, when his dressing-shop was set on fire and 
burned to the ground, when the cloth was torn from his 
tenters and left in shreds in the field, took no steps to dis- 
cover or punish the miscreants : he gave up as tamely as a 
rabbit under the jaws of a ferret. Now I, if I know myself, 
should stand by my trade, my mill, and my machinery.' 

' Helstone says these three are your gods ; that the 
" Orders in Council " are with you another name for the 
seven deadly sins ; that Castlereagh is your Antichrist, and 
the war-party his legions.' 

' Yes ; I abhor all these things because they ruin me : 
they stand in my way : I cannot get on. I cannot execute 
my plans because of them : I see myself baffled at every turn 
by their untoward effects.' 

' But you are rich and thriving, Moore ? ' 

' I am very rich in cloth I cannot sell : you should step 
into my warehouse yonder, and observe how it is piled to the 
roof with pieces. Boakes and Pearson are in the same con- 
dition : America used to be their market, but the " Orders in 
Council " have cut that off.' 

Malone did not seem prepared to carry on briskly a con- 
versation of this sort ; he began to knock the heels of his 
boots together, and to yawn. 

' And then to think,' continued Mr. Moore, who seemed 
too much taken up with the current of his own thoughts to 
note the symptoms of his guest's ennui, ' to think that 
these ridiculous gossips of Whinbury and Briarfield will 
keep pestering one about being married ! As if there was 
nothing to be done in life but to " pay attention," as they 


say, to some young lady, and then to go to church with her, 
and then to start on a bridal tour, and then to run through a 
round of visits, and then, I suppose, to be " having a family." 
Oh, que le diable emporte ! 'He broke off the aspiration 
into which he was launching with a certain energy, and 
added, more calmly ' I believe women talk and think only 
of these things, and they naturally fancy men's minds 
similarly occupied.' 

' Of course of course,' assented Malone ; ' but never 
mind them.' And he whistled, looked impatiently round, 
and seemed to feel a great want of something. This time 
Moore caught, and, it appeared, comprehended his demonstra- 

' Mr. Malone,' said he, ' you must require refreshment 
after your wet walk : I forget hospitality.' 

1 Not at all,' rejoined Malone ; but he looked as if the 
right nail was at last hit on the head, nevertheless. Moore 
rose and opened a cupboard. 

' It is my fancy,' said he, ' to have every convenience 
within myself, and not to be dependent on the feminity in 
the cottage yonder for every mouthful I eat or every drop I 
drink. I often spend the evening and sup here alone, and 
sleep with Joe Scott in the mill. Sometimes I am my own 
watchman ; I require little sleep, and it pleases me on a fine 
night to wander for an hour or two with my musket about 
the hollow. Mr. Malone, can you cook a mutton-chop ? ' 

' Try me : I've done it hundreds of times at college.' 

' There's a dishful, then, and there's the gridiron. Turn 
them quickly ; you know the secret of keeping the juices 

' Never fear me you shall see. Hand a knife and fork, 

The curate turned up his coat-cuffs, and applied himself 
to the cookery with vigour. The manufacturer placed on 
the table plates, a loaf of bread, a black bottle, and two 
tumblers. He then produced a small copper kettle still 
from the same well-stored recess, his cupboard filled it with 


water from a large stone jar in a corner, set it on the fire 
beside the hissing gridiron, got lemons, sugar, and a small 
china punch-bowl ; but while he was brewing the punch, a 
tap at the door called him away. 

' Is it you, Sarah ? ' 

' Yes, sir. Will you come to supper, please, sir ? ' 

' No ; I shall not be in to-night : I shall sleep in the mill. 
So lock the doors, and tell your mistress to go to bed.' He 

' You have your household in proper order,' observed 
Malone approvingly, as, with his fine face ruddy as the 
embers over which he bent, he assiduously turned the 
mutton-chops. 'You are not under petticoat government, 
like poor Sweeting ; a man whew ! how the fat spits ! it 
has burnt my hand destined to be ruled by women. Now 
you and I, Moore there's a fine brown one for you, and full 
of gravy you and I will have no gray mares in our stables 
when we marry.' 

' I don't know I never think about it : if the gray mare 
is handsome and tractable, why not ? ' 

' The chops are done : is the punch brewed ? ' 

' There is a glassful : taste it. When Joe Scott and hia 
minions return they shall have a share of this, provided they 
bring home the frames intact.' 

Malone waxed very exultant over the supper : he laughed 
aloud at trifles ; made bad jokes and applauded them him- 
self ; and, in short, grew unmeaningly noisy. His host, on 
the contrary, remained quiet as before. It is time, reader, 
that you should have some idea of the appearance of this 
same host : I must endeavour to sketch him as he sits at 

He is what you would probably call, at first view, rather 
a strange-looking man ; for he is thin, dark, sallow ; very 
foreign of aspect, with shadowy hair carelessly streaking his 
forehead : it appears that he spends but little time at his 
toilette, or he would arrange it with more taste. He seems 
unconscious that his features are fine, that they have a southern 


symmetry, clearness, regularity in their chiselling ; nor does 
a spectator become aware of this advantage till he has ex- 
amined him well, for an anxious countenance, and a hollow, 
somewhat haggard, outline of face disturb the idea of beauty 
with one of care. His eyes are large, and grave, and gray ; 
their expression is intent and meditative, rather searching 
than soft, rather thoughtful than genial. When he parts his 
lips in a smile, his physiognomy is agreeable not that it is 
frank or cheerful even then, but you feel the influence of a 
certain sedate charm, suggestive, whether truly or delusively, 
of a considerate, perhaps a kind nature ; of feelings that may 
wear well at home ; patient, forbearing, possibly faithful 
feelings. He is still young not more than thirty; his 
stature is tall, his figure slender. His manner of speaking 
displeases : he has an outlandish accent, which, notwith- 
standing a studied carelessness of pronunciation and diction, 
grates on a British, and especially on a Yorkshire ear. 

Mr. Moore, indeed, was but half a Briton, and scarcely 
that. He came of a foreign ancestry by the mother's side, 
and was himself born and partly reared on a foreign soil. 

A hybrid in nature, it is probable he had a hybrid's feeling 
on many points patriotism for one ; it is likely that he was 
unapt to attach himself to parties, to sects, even to climes 
and customs ; it is not impossible that he had a tendency to 
isolate his individual person from any community amidst 
which his lot might temporarily happen to be thrown, and 
that he felt it to be his best wisdom to push the interests of 
Eobert Ge"rard Moore, to the exclusion of philanthropic con- 
sideration for general interests : with which he regarded the 
said G6rard Moore as in a great measure disconnected. 
Trade was Mr. Moore's hereditary calling : the G6rards of 
Antwerp had been merchants for two centuries back. Once 
they had been wealthy merchants ; but the uncertainties, the 
involvements of business had come upon them ; disastrous 
speculations had loosened by degrees the foundations of 
their credit ; the house had stood on a tottering base for a 
dozen years ; and at last, in the shock of the French Eevolu- 


tion, it had rushed down a total ruin. In its fall was 
involved the English and Yorkshire firm of Moore, closely 
connected with the Antwerp house ; and of which one of the 
partners, resident in Antwerp, Eobert Moore, had married 
Hortense G6rard, with the prospect of his bride inheriting 
her father Constantine Gerard's share in the business. She 
inherited, as we have seen, but his share in the liabilities of 
the firm ; and these liabilities, though duly set aside by a 
composition with creditors, some said her son Eobert 
accepted, in his turn, as a legacy ; and that he aspired one 
day to discharge them, and to rebuild the fallen house of 
G6rard and Moore on a scale at least equal to its former 
greatness. It was even supposed that he took by-past cir- 
cumstances much to heart ; and if a childhood passed at the 
side of a saturnine mother, under foreboding of coming evil, 
and a manhood drenched and blighted by the pitiless descent 
of the storm, could painfully impress the mind, his probably 
was impressed in no golden characters. 

If, however, he had a great end of restoration in view, 
it was not in his power to employ great means for its attain- 
ment ; he was obliged to be content with the day of small 
things. When he came to Yorkshire, he whose ancestors 
had owned warehouses in this seaport, and factories in that 
inland town, had possessed their town-house and their 
country-seat saw no way open to him but to rent a cloth- 
mill, in an out-of-the-way nook of an out-of-the-way district ; 
to take a cottage adjoining it for his residence, and to add 
to his possessions, as pasture for his horse, and space for his 
cloth-tenters, a few acres of the steep rugged land that lined 
the hollow through which his mill-stream brawled. All this 
he held at a somewhat high rent (for these war times were 
hard, and everything was dear), of the trustees of the Field- 
head estate, then the property of a minor. 

At the time this history commences, Eobert Moore had 
lived but two years in the district ; during which period he 
had at least proved himself possessed of the quality of 
activity. The dingy cottage was converted into a neat 


tasteful residence. Of part of the rough land he had made 
garden-ground, which he cultivated with singular, even with 
Flemish, exactness and care. As to the mill, which was an 
old structure, and fitted up with old machinery, now become 
inefficient and out of date, he had from the first evinced the 
strongest contempt for all its arrangements and appoint- 
ments : his aim had been to effect a radical reform, which 
he had executed as fast as his very limited capital would 
allow ; and the narrowness of that capital, and consequent 
check on his progress, was a restraint which galled his 
spirit sorely. Moore ever wanted to push on : ' Forward ' 
was the device stamped upon his soul ; but poverty curbed 
him : sometimes (figuratively) he foamed at the mouth when 
the reins were drawn very tight. 

In this state of feeling, it is not to be expected that he 
would deliberate much as to whether his advance was or 
was not prejudicial to others. Not being a native, nor for 
any length of time a resident of the neighbourhood, he 
did not sufficiently care when the new inventions threw the 
old work-people out of employ : he never asked himself 
where those to whom he no longer paid weekly wages found 
daily bread ; and in this negligence he only resembled 
thousands besides, on whom the starving poor of Yorkshire 
seemed to have a closer claim. 

The period of which I write was an overshadowed one in 
British history, and especially in the history of the northern 
provinces. War was then at its height. Europe was all in- 
volved therein. England, if not weary, was worn with long 
resistance : yes, and half her people were weary too, and cried 
out for peace on any terms. National honour was become 
a mere empty name, of no value in the eyes of many, because 
their sight was dim with famine ; and for a morsel of meat 
they would have sold their birthright. 

The ' Orders in Council,' provoked by Napoleon's Milan 
and Berlin decrees, and forbidding neutral powers to trade 
with France, had, by offending America, cut off the princi- 
pal market of the Yorkshire woollen trade, and brought it 


consequently to the verge of ruin. Minor foreign markets were 
glutted, and would receive no more : the Brazils, Portugal, 
Sicily, were all overstocked by nearly two years' consump- 
tion. At this crisis, certain inventions in machinery were 
introduced into the staple manufactures of the north, which, 
greatly reducing the number of hands necessary to be 
employed, threw thousands out of work, and left them 
without legitimate means of sustaining life. A bad harvest 
supervened. Distress reached its climax. Endurance, 
overgoaded, stretched the hand of fraternity to sedition. 
The throes of a sort of moral earthquake were felt heaving 
under the hills of the northern counties. But, as is usual 
in such cases, nobody took much notice. When a food-riot 
broke out in a manufacturing town, when a gig-mill was 
burnt to the ground, or a manufacturer's house was attacked, 
the furniture thrown into the streets, and the family forced 
to flee for their lives, some local measures were or were not 
taken by the local magistracy ; a ringleader was detected, or 
more frequently suffered to elude detection ; newspaper 
paragraphs were written on the subject, and there the thing 
stopped. As to the sufferers, whose sole inheritance was 
labour, and who had lost that inheritance who could not 
get work, and consequently could not get wages, and conse- 
quently could not get bread they were left to suffer on ; per- 
haps inevitably left : it would not do to stop the progress of 
invention, to damage science by discouraging its improvements; 
the war could not be terminated, efficient relief could not be 
raised : there was no help then ; so the unemployed underwent 
their destiny ate the bread and drank the waters of affliction. 
Misery generates hate : these sufferers hated the machines 
which they believed took their bread from them : they hated 
the buildings which contained those machines ; they hated 
the manufacturers who owned those buildings. In the 
parish of Briarfield, with which we have at present to do, 
Ilollow's-mill was the place held most abominable ; Ge'rard 
Moore, in his double character of semi-foreigner and 
thorough-going progressist, the man most abominated. And 


it perhaps rather agreed with Moore's temperament than 
otherwise to be generally hated ; especially when he believed 
the thing for which he was hated a right and an expedient 
thing ; and it was with a sense of warlike excitement he, on 
this night, sat in his counting-house waiting the arrival of 
his frame-laden waggons. Malone's coming and company 
were, it may be, most unwelcome to him : he would have 
preferred sitting alone ; for he liked a silent, sombre, unsafe 
solitude : his watchman's musket would have been company 
enough for him ; the full-flowing beck in the den would 
have delivered continuously the discourse most genial to 
his ear. 

With the queerest look in the world, had the manu- 
facturer for some ten minutes been watching the Irish 
curate, as the latter made free with the punch ; when 
suddenly that steady gray eye changed, as if another vision 
came between it and Malone. Moore raised his hand. 

' Chut ! ' he said, in his French fashion, as Malone made 
a noise with his glass. He listened a moment, then rose, 
put his hat on, and went out at the counting-house door. 

The night was still, dark, and stagnant ; the water yet 
rushed on full and fast : its flow almost seemed a flood in 
the utter silence. Moore's ear, however, caught another 
sound very distant, but yet dissimilar broken and rugged : 
in short, a sound of heavy wheels crunching a stony road. 
He returned to the counting-house and lit a lantern, with 
which he walked down the mill-yard, and proceeded to open 
the gates. The big waggons were coming on ; the dray- 
horses' huge hoofs were heard splashing in the mud and 
water. Moore hailed them. 

1 Hey, Joe Scott ! Is all right ? ' 

Probably Joe Scott was yet at too great a distance to hear 
the inquiry ; he did not answer it. 

' Is all right, I say ? ' again asked Moore when the 
elephant-like leader's nose almost touched his. 

Some one jumped out from the foremost waggon into the 


road ; a voice cried aloud, ' Ay, ay, divil, all's raight ! We've 
smashed 'em.' 

And there was a run. The waggons stood still: they 
were now deserted. 

' Joe Scott ! ' No Joe Scott answered. ' Murgatroyd ! 
Pighills ! Sykes ! ' No reply. Mr. Moore lifted his lantern, 
and looked into the vehicles ; there was neither man nor 
machinery : they were empty and abandoned. 

Now Mr. Moore loved his machinery : he had risked the 
last of his capital on the purchase of these frames and shears 
which to-night had been expected ; speculations most impor- 
tant to his interests depended on the results to be wrought 
by them : where were they ? 

The words ' We've smashed 'em ! ' rang in his ears. How 
did the catastrophe affect him ? By the light of the lantern 
he held, were his features visible, relaxing to a singular 
smile : the smile the man of determined spirit wears when he 
reaches a juncture in his life where this determined spirit is 
to feel a demand on its strength : when the strain is to be 
made, and the faculty must bear or break. Yet he remained 
silent, and even motionless ; for at the instant he neither 
knew what to say nor what to do. He placed the lantern on 
the ground, and stood with his arms folded, gazing down and 

An impatient trampling of one of the horses made him 
presently look up ; his eye in the moment caught the gleam 
of something white attached to a part of the harness. 
Examined by the light of the lantern, this proved to be a 
folded paper a billet. It bore no address without ; within 
was the superscription : 'To the Divil of Hollow's-miln.' 

We will not copy the rest of the orthography, which was 
very peculiar, but translate it into legible English. It ran 
thus : ' Your hellish machinery is shivered to smash on 
Stilbro' Moor, and your men are lying bound hand and foot 
in a ditch by the roadside. Take this as a warning from men 
that are starving, and have starving wives and children to go 
home to when they have done this deed. If you get new 


machines, or if you otherwise go on as you have done, you 
shall hear from us again. Beware ! ' 

' Hear from you again ? Yes ; I'll hear from you again, 
and you shall hear from me. I'll speak to you directly : on 
Stilbro' Moor you shall hear from me in a moment.' 

Having led the waggons within the gates, he hastened 
towards the cottage. Opening the door, he spoke a few 
words quickly but quietly to two females who ran to meet 
him in the passage. He calmed the seeming alarm of one 
by a brief palliative account of what had taken place ; to 
the other he said, ' Go into the mill, Sarah there is the key 
and ring the mill-bell as loud as you can : afterwards you 
will get another lantern and help me to light up the front.' 

Returning to his horses, he unharnessed, fed, and stabled 
them with equal speed and care, pausing occasionally, while 
so occupied, as if to listen for the mill-bell. It clanged out 
presently, with irregular but loud and alarming din : the 
hurried agitated peal seemed more urgent than if the sum- 
mons had been steadily given by a practised hand. On that 
still night, at that unusual hour, it was heard a long way 
round : the guests in the kitchen of the Redhouse were 
startled by the clangour ; and, declaring that ' there must be 
summat more nor common to do at Hollow's-miln,' they 
called for lanterns, and hurried to the spot in a body. And 
scarcely had they thronged into the yard with their gleaming 
lights, when the tramp of horses was heaid, and a little man 
in a shovel hat, sitting erect on the back of a shaggy pony, 
' rode lightly in,' followed by an aide-de-camp mounted on a 
larger steed. 

Mr. Moore, meantime, after stabling his dray-horses, had 
saddled his hackney ; and with the aid of Sarah, the servant, 
lit up his mill ; whose wide and long front now glared one 
great illumination, throwing a sufficient light on the yard to 
obviate all fear of confusion arising from obscurity. Already 
a deep hum of voices became audible. Mr. Malone had at 
length issued from the counting-house, previously taking the 
precaution to dip his head and face in the stone water-jar ; 


and this precaution, together with the sudden alarm, had 
nearly restored to him the possession of those senses which 
the punch had partially scattered. He stood with his hat on 
the back of his head, and his shillelagh grasped in his dexter 
fist, answering much at random the questions of the newly- 
arrived party from the Redhouse. Mr. Moore now appeared, 
and was immediately confronted by the shovel hat and the 
shaggy pony. 

' Well, Moore, what is your business with us ? I thought 
you would want us to-night : me and the hetman here 
(patting his pony's neck), and Tom and his charger. When 
I heard your mill-bell, I could sit still no longer, so I left 
Boultby to finish his supper alone : but where is the enemy ? 
I do not see a mask or a smutted face present ; and there 
is not a pane of glass broken in your windows. Have you 
had an attack, or do you expect one ? ' 

' Oh, not at all ! I have neither had one nor expect one,' 
answered Moore, coolly. ' I only ordered the bell to be 
rung because I want two or three neighbours to stay here 
in the Hollow while I and a couple or so more go over to 
Stilbro' Moor.' 

'To Stilbro' Moor! What to do? To meet the wag- 
gons ? ' 

1 The waggons are come home an hour ago.' 

' Then all's right. What more would you have ? ' 

' They came home empty ; and Joe Scott and Company are 
left on the moor, and so are the frames. Bead that scrawl.' 

Mr. Helstone received and perused the document of 
which the contents have before been given. 

' Hum ! They've only served you as they serve others. 
But, however, the poor fellows in the ditch will be expecting 
help with some impatience : this is a wet night for such a 
berth. I and Tom will go with you ; Malone may stay 
behind and take care of the mill : what is the matter with 
him ? His eyes seem starting out of his head.' 

' He has been eating a mutton-chop.' 

' Indeed ! Peter Augustus, be on your guard. Eat no 


more mutton-chops to-night. You are left here in command 
of these premises : an honourable post ! ' 

' Is anybody to stay with me ? ' 

' As many of the present assemblage as choose. My lads, 
how many of you will remain here, and how many will go 
a little way with me and Mr. Moore on the Stilbro'-road, to 
meet some men who have been waylaid and assaulted by 
frame-breakers ? ' 

The small number of three volunteered to go ; the rest 
preferred staying behind. As Mr. Moore mounted his horse, 
the Kector asked him in a low voice whether he had locked 
up the mutton-chops, so that Peter Augustus could not get 
at them ? The manufacturer nodded an affirmative, and the 
rescue-party set out. 



CHEERFULNESS, it would appear, is a matter which depends 
fully as much on the state of things within, as on the state 
of things without and around us. I make this trite remark, 
because I happen to know that Messrs. Helstone and Moore 
trotted forth from the mill-yard gates, at the head of their 
very small company, in the best possible spirits. When a 
ray from a lantern (the three pedestrians of the party carried 
each one) fell on Mr. Moore's face, you could see an unusual, 
because a lively, spark dancing in his eyes, and a new-found 
vivacity mantling on his dark physiognomy ; and when the 
Rector's visage was illuminated, his hard features were 
revealed all agrin and ashine with glee. Yet a drizzling 
night, a somewhat perilous expedition, you would think were 
not circumstances calculated to enliven those exposed to the 
wet and engaged in the adventure. If any member or 
members of the crew who had been at work on Stilbro' Moor 
had caught a view of this party, they would have had great 
pleasure in shooting either of the leaders from behind a wall : 
and the leaders knew this ; and, the fact is, being both men 
of steely nerves and steady-beating hearts, were elate with 
the knowledge. 

I am aware, reader, and you need not remind me, that it 
is a dreadful thing for a parson to be warlike : I am aware 
that he should be a man of peace. I have some faint outline 
of an idea of what, a clergyman's mission is amongst man- 
kind, and I remember distinctly whose servant he is ; whose 
message he delivers, whose example he should follow ; yet, 


with all this, if you are a parson-hater, you need not expect 
me to go along with you every step of your dismal, down- 
ward-tending unchristian road ; you need not expect me to 
join in your deep anathemas, at once so narrow and so sweep- 
ing in your poisonous rancour, so intense and so absurd, 
against ' the cloth ; ' to lift up my eyes and hands with a 
Supplehough, or to inflate my lungs with a Barraclough, in 
horror and denunciation of the diabolical Eector of Briarfield. 
He was not diabolical at all. The evil simply was he 
had missed his vocation : he should have been a soldier, 
and circumstances had made him a priest. For the rest, he 
was a conscientious, hard-headed, hard-handed, brave, stern, 
implacable, faithful little man : a man almost without sym- 
pathy, ungentle, prejudiced, and rigid : but a man true to 
principle honourable, sagacious, and sincere. It seems to 
me, reader, that you cannot always cut out men to fit their 
profession, and that you ought not to curse them because 
that profession sometimes hangs on them ungracefully : nor 
will I curse Helstone, clerical Cossack as he was. Yet he 
was cursed, and by many of his own parishioners, as by 
others he was adored : which is the frequent fate of men 
who show partiality in friendship and bitterness in enmity ; 
who are equally attached to principles and adherent to 

Helstone and Moore, being both in excellent spirits, and 
united for the present in one cause, you would expect that, 
as they rode side by side, they would converse amicably. 
Oh, no ! These two men, of hard bilious natures both, 
rarely came into contact but they chafed each other's moods. 
Their frequent bone of contention was the war. Helstone 
was a high Tory (there were Tories in those days), and 
Moore was a bitter Whig a Whig, at least, as far as oppo- 
sition to the war-party was concerned : that being the question 
which affected his own interest ; and only on that question 
did he profess any British politics at all. He liked to in- 
furiate Helstone by declaring his belief in the invincibility 
of Bonaparte; by taunting England and Europe with the 


impotence of their efforts to withstand him ; and by coolly 
advancing the opinion that it was as well to yield to him 
soon as late, since he must in the end crush every antagonist, 
and reign supreme. 

Helstone could not bear these sentiments : it was only 
on the consideration of Moore being a sort of outcast and 
alien, and having but half measure of British blood to temper 
the foreign gall which corroded his veins, that he brought 
himself to listen to them without indulging the wish he felt 
to cane the speaker. Another thing, too, somewhat allayed 
his disgust ; namely, a fellow-feeling for the dogged tone 
with which these opinions were asserted, and a respect for 
the consistency of Moore's crabbed contumacy. 

As the party turned into the Stilbro'-road, they met what 
little wind there was ; the rain dashed in their faces. Moore 
had been fretting his companion previously, and now, braced 
up by the raw breeze, and perhaps irritated by the sharp 
drizzle, he began to goad him. 

'Does your Peninsular news please you still?' he 

' What do you mean ? ' was the surly demand of the 

1 1 mean have you still faith in that Baal of a Lord 
Wellington ? ' 

' And what do you mean now ? ' 

' Do you still believe that this wooden-faced and pebble- 
hearted idol of England has power to call fire down from 
heaven to consume the French holocaust you want to offer 

1 1 believe Wellington will flog Bonaparte's marshals 
into the sea the day it pleases him to lift his arm.' 

' But, my dear sir, you can't be serious in what you say. 
Bonaparte's marshals are great men, who act under the 
guidance of an omnipotent master-spirit ; your Wellington 
is the most humdrum of common-place martinets, whose 
slow mechanical movements are further cramped by an 
ignorant home-government.' 


' Wellington is the soul of England. * Wellington is the 
right champion of a good cause ; the fit representative of a 
powerful, a resolute, a sensible, and an honest nation.' 

'Your good cause, as far as I understand it, is simply 
the restoration of that filthy, feeble Ferdinand, to a throne 
which he disgraced ; your fit representative of an honest 
people is a dull-witted drover, acting for a duller- witted 
farmer ; and against these are arrayed victorious supremacy 
and invincible genius.' 

' Against legitimacy is arrayed usurpation ; against 
modest, single-minded, righteous, and brave resistance to 
encroachment, is arrayed boastful, double-tongued, selfish, 
and treacherous ambition to possess. God defend the right ! ' 

1 God often defends the powerful.' 

1 What ! I suppose the handful of Israelites standing 
dry-shod on the Asiatic side of the Bed Sea, was more 
powerful than the host of the Egyptians drawn up on the 
African side ? Were they more numerous ? Were they 
better appointed ? Were they more mighty, in a word eh ? 
Don't speak, or you'll tell a lie, Moore ; you know you will. 
They were a poor over- wrought band of bondsmen. Tyrants 
had oppressed them through four hundred years ; a feeble 
mixture of women and children diluted their thin ranks ; 
their masters, who roared to follow . them through the 
divided flood, were a set of pampered Ethiops, about as 
strong and brutal as the lions of Libya. They were armed, 
horsed, and charioted, the poor Hebrew wanderers were 
afoot; few of them, it is likely, had better weapons than 
their shepherds' crooks, or their masons' building-tools ; 
their meek and mighty leader himself had only his rod. 
But bethink you, Eobert Moore, right was with them ; the 
God of battles was on their side. Crime and the lost arch- 
angel generalled the ranks of Pharaoh, and which triumphed ? 
We know that well : " The Lord saved Israel that day out 
of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians 
dead upon the sea-shore ; " yea, " the depths covered them, 
they sank to the bottom as a stone." The right hand of the 


Lord became glorious in power ; the right hand of the Lord 
dashed in pieces the enemy ! ' 

' You are all right ; only you forget the true parallel : 
France is Israel, and Napoleon is Moses. Europe, with her 
old over-gorged empires and rotten dynasties, is corrupt 
Egypt ; gallant France is the Twelve Tribes, and her fresh 
and vigorous Usurper the Shepherd of Horeb.' 

' I scorn to answer you.' 

Moore accordingly answered himself ; at least he sub- 
joined to what he had just said an additional observation in 
a lower voice. 

' Oh, in Italy he was as great as any Moses ! He was 
the right thing there ; fit to head and organise measures for 
the regeneration of nations. It puzzles me to this day how 
the conqueror of Lodi should have condescended to become 
an emperor a vulgar, a stupid humbug ; and still more 
how a people, who had once called themselves republicans, 
should have sunk again to the grade of mere slaves. I 
despise France ! If England had gone as far on the march 
of civilisation as France did, she would hardly have retreated 
so shamelessly.' 

1 You don't mean to say that besotted imperial France 
is any worse than bloody republican France ? ' demanded 
Helstone fiercely. . 

' I mean to say nothing : but I can think what I please, 
you know, Mr. Helstone, both about France and England ; 
and about revolutions, and regicides, and restorations in 
general ; and about the divine right of kings, which you often 
stickle for in your sermons, and the duty of non-resistance, 
and the sanity of war, and 

Mr. Moore's sentence was here cut short by the rapid 
rolling up of a gig, and its sudden stoppage in the middle 
of the road ; both he and the Eector had been too much 
occupied with their discoui-se to notice its approach till it 
was close upon them. 

' Nab, maister, did th' waggons hit home ? ' demanded a 
voice fi'om the vehicle. 


1 Can that be Joe Scott ? ' 

' Ay, ay ! ' returned another voice ; for the gig contained 
two persons, as was seen by the glimmer of its lamp : the 
men with the lanterns had now fallen into the rear, or 
rather, the equestrians of the rescue-party had outridden the 
pedestrians. ' Ay, Mr. Moore, it's Joe Scott. I'm bringing 
him back to you in a bonny pickle. I fand him on the top 
of the moor yonder, him and three others. What will you 
give me for restoring him to you ? ' 

' Why, my thanks, I believe ; for I could better have 
afforded to lose a better man. That is you, I suppose, Mr. 
Yorke, by your voice ? ' 

'Ay, lad, it's me. I was coming home from Stilbro' 
market, and just as I got to the middle of the moor, 
and was whipping on as swift as the wind (for these, they 
say, are not safe times, thanks to a bad government !) I 
heard a groan. I pulled up: some would have whipt on 
faster ; but I've naught to fear, that I know of. I don't 
believe there's a lad in these parts would harm me : at least 
I'd give them as good as I got if they offered to do it. I 
said, " Is there aught wrong anywhere ? " " 'Deed is there," 
somebody says, speaking out of the ground, like. " What's 
to do ? be sharp, and tell me," I ordered. " Nobbut four 
on us ligging in a ditch," says Joe, as quiet as could be. I 
tell'd 'em, more shame to 'em, and bid them get up and 
move on, or I'd lend them a lick of the gig-whip ; for my 
notion was, they were all fresh. " We'd ha' done that an 
hour sin' ; but we're teed wi' a bit o' band," says Joe. So in a 
while I got down and loosed 'em wi 1 my penknife : and Scott 
would ride wi' me, to tell me all how it happened ; and t' 
others are coming on as fast as their feet will bring them.' 

' Well, I am greatly obliged to you, Mr. Yorke.' 

' Are you, my lad ? you know you're not. However, 
here are the rest approaching. And here, by the Lord ! is 
another set with lights in their pitchers, like the army of 
Gideon ; and as we've th' parson wi' us good evening, Mr. 
Helstoue we'se do.' 


Mr. Helstone returned the salutation of the individual in 
the gig very stiffly indeed. That individual proceeded : 
' We're eleven strong men, and there's both horses and 
chariots amang us. If we could only fall in \vi' some of 
these starved ragamuffins of frame-breakers, we could win 
a grand victory ; we could iv'ry one be a Wellington that 
would please ye, Mr. Helstone ; and sich paragraphs as we 
could contrive for t' papers ! Briarfield suld be famous : 
but we'se hev a column and a half i' th' Stilbro' Courier 
ower this job, as it is, I daresay : I'se expect no less.' 

' And I'll promise you no less, Mr. Yorke, for I'll write 
the article myself,' returned the Kector. 

' To be sure ! sartainly ! And mind ye recommend weel 
that them 'at brake t' bits o' frames, and teed Joe Scott's 
legs wi' band, suld be hung without benefit o' clergy. It's a 
hanging matter, or suld be ; no doubt o' that.' 

' If I judged them, I'd give them short shrift ! ' cried 
Moore ; ' but I mean to let them quite alone this bout, to 
give them rope enough, certain that in the end they will 
hang themselves.' 

' Let them alone, will ye, Moore ? Do you promise 
that ? ' 

' Promise ? No. All I mean to say is, I shall give my- 
self no particular trouble to catch them ; but if one falls in 
my way ' 

' You'll snap him up, of course : only you would rather 
they would do something worse than merely stop a waggon 
before you reckon with them. Well, we'll say no more on 
the subject at present. Here we are at my door, gentlemen, 
and I hope you and the men will step in : you will none of 
you be the worse of a little refreshment.' 

Moore and Helstone opposed this proposition as un- 
necessary ; it was, however, pressed on them so courteously, 
and the night, besides, was so inclement, and the gleam from 
the muslin-cui'tained windows of the house before which 
they had halted, looked so inviting, that at length they 
yielded. Mr. Yorke, after having alighted from his gig 


which he left in charge of a man who issued from an out- 
building on his arrival, led the way in. 

It will have been remarked that Mr. Yorke varied a little 
in his phraseology ; now he spoke broad Yorkshire, and 
anon he expressed himself in very pure English. His 
manner seemed liable to equal alternations; he could be 
polite and affable, and he could be blunt and rough. His 
station then you could not easily determine by his speech or 
demeanour ; perhaps the appearance of his residence may 
decide it. 

The men he recommended to take the kitchen way, 
saying that he would ' see them served wi' summat to taste 
presently.' The gentlemen were ushered in at the front 
entrance. They found themselves in a matted hall, lined 
almost to the ceiling with pictures ; through this they were 
conducted to a large parlour, with a magnificent fire in the 
grate ; the most cheerful of rooms it appeared as a whole, 
and when you came to examine details, the enlivening effect 
was not diminished. There was no splendour, but there was 
taste everywhere, unusual taste, the taste, you would have 
said, of a travelled man, a scholar, and a gentleman. A 
series of Italian views decked the walls ; each of these was 
a specimen of true art ; a connoisseur had selected them : 
they were genuine and valuable. Even by candlelight, the 
bright clear skies, the soft distances, with blue air quivering 
between the eye and the hills, the fresh tints, and well 
massed lights and shadows, charmed the view. The subjects 
were all pastoral, the scenes were all sunny. There was a 
guitar and some music on a sofa ; there were cameos, 
beautiful miniatures ; a set of Grecian-looking vases on the 
mantelpiece ; there were books well arranged in two elegant 

Mr. Yorke bade his guests be seated : he then rang for 
wine ; to the servant who brought it he gave hospitable 
orders for the refreshment of the men in the kitchen. The 
Rector remained standing ; he seemed not to like his 
quarters ; he would not touch the wine his host offered him. 


1 E'en aa you will,' remarked Mr. Yorke. ' I reckon 
you're thinking of Eastern customs, Mr. Helstone, and you'll 
not eat nor drink under my roof, feared we suld be forced to 
be friends ; but I'm not so particular or superstitious. You 
might sup the contents of that decanter, and you might give 
me a bottle of the best in your own cellar, and I'd hold 
myself free to oppose you at every turn still, in every 
vestry-meeting and justice-meeting where we encountered 
one another.' 

' It is just what I should expect of you, Mr. Yorke.' 

' Does it agree wi' ye now, Mr. Helstone, to be riding 
out after rioters, of a wet night, at your age ? ' 

' It always agrees with me to be doing my duty ; and in 
this case my duty is a thorough pleasure. To hunt down 
vermin is a noble occupation, fit for an archbishop.' 

' Fit for ye, at ony rate : but where's t' curate ? He's 
happen gone to visit some poor body in a sick gird, or he's 
happen hunting down vermin in another direction.' 

' He is doing garrison-duty at Hollow's-mill.' 

1 You left him a sup o* wine, I hope, Bob ' (turning to 
Mr. Moore), ' to keep his courage up ? ' 

He did not pause for an answer, but continued, quickly 
still addressing Moore, who had thrown himself into an 
old-fashioned chair by the fireside, ' Move it, Robert ! Get 
up, my lad ! That place is mine. Take the sofa, or three 
other chairs, if you will, but not this ; it belangs to me, and 
nob'dy else.' 

' Why are you so particular to that chair, Mr. Yorke ? ' 
asked Moore, lazily vacating the place, in obedience to 

' My father war afore me, and that's all t* answer I sail 
gie thee ; and it's as good a reason as Mr. Helstone can give 
for the main feck o' his notions.' 

' Moore, are you ready to go ? ' inquired the Eector. 

' Nay ; Robert's not ready ; or rather I'm not ready to 
part wi' him : he's an ill lad, and wants correcting.' 

' Why, sir ? What have I done ? ' 


' Made thyself enemies on every hand.' 

1 What do I care for that ? What difference does it 
make to me whether your Yorkshire louts hate me or like 

1 Ay, there it is. The lad is a mak' of an alien amang 
us : his father would never have talked i* that way. Go 
back to Antwerp, where you were born and bred, mauvaise 

' Mauvaise tete vous-m&me ; je ne fais que mon devoir : 
quant a vos lourdauds de paysans, je m'en moque ! ' 

1 En revanche, mon gargon, nos lourdauds de paysans se 
moqueront de toi ; sois en certain,' replied Yorke, speaking 
with nearly as pure a French accent as Gerard Moore. 

' C'est bon ! c'est bon ! Et puisque cela m'est 6gal, que 
mes amis ne s'en inquietent pas.' 

' Tes amis ! Oil sont-ils, tes amis ? ' 

1 Je fais 6cho, ou sont-ils ? et je suis fort aise que l'6cho 
seul y repond. Au diable les amis ! Je me souviens encore 
du moment ou mon pere et mes oncles Gerard appellerent 
autour d'eux leurs amis, et Dieu sait si les amis se sont 
empresses d'accourir a leur secours ! Tenez, M. Yorke, ce 
mot, ami, m'irrite trop ; ne m'en parlez plus.' 

' Comme tu voudras.' 

And here Mr. Yorke held his peace ; and while he sits 
leaning back in his three-cornered, carved oak chair, I will 
snatch my opportunity to sketch the portrait of this French- 
speaking Yorkshire gentleman. 


A YORKSHIRE gentleman he was, par excellence, in every 
point. About fifty-five years old, but looking at first sight 
still older, for his hair was silver white. His forehead was 
broad, not high ; his face fresh and hale ; the harshness of 
the north was seen in his features, as it was heard in his 
voice ; every trait was thoroughly English, not a Norman 
line anywhere ; it was an inelegant, unclassic, unaristo- 
cratic mould of visage. Fine people would perhaps have 
called it vulgar ; sensible people would have termed it 
characteristic ; shrewd people would have delighted in it for 
the pith, sagacity, intelligence the rude, yet real originality 
marked in every lineament, latent in every furrow. But it 
was an indocile, a scornful, and a sarcastic face ; the face 
of a man difficult to lead, and impossible to drive. His 
stature was rather tall, and he was well-made and wiry, and 
had a stately integrity of port ; there was not a suspicion of 
the clown about him anywhere. 

I did not find it easy to sketch Mr. Yorke's person, but 
it is more difficult to indicate his mind. If you expect to be 
treated to a Perfection, reader, or even to a benevolent, philan- 
thropic old gentleman in him, you are mistaken. He has 
spoken with some sense, and with some good feeling, to Mr. 
Moore ; but you are not thence to conclude that he always 
spoke and thought justly and kindly. 

Mr. Yorke, in the first place, was without the organ of 
Veneration a great want, and which throws a man wrong 
on every point where veneration is required. Secondly, he 


was without the organ of Comparison a deficiency which 
strips a man of sympathy ; and, thirdly, he had too little of 
the organs of Benevolence and Ideality, which took the glory 
and softness from his nature, and for him diminished those 
divine qualities throughout the universe. 

The want of veneration made him intolerant to those 
above him : kings and nobles and priests, dynasties and 
parliaments and establishments, with all their doings, most 
of their enactments, their forms, their rights, their claims, 
were to him an abomination all rubbish ; he found no use 
or pleasure in them, and believed it would bs clear gain, and 
no damage to the world, if its high places were razed, and 
their occupants crushed in the fall. The want of veneration, 
too, made him dead at heart to the electric delight of admir- 
ing what is admirable ; it dried up a thousand pure sources 
of enjoyment ; it withered a thousand vivid pleasures. He 
was not irreligious, though a member of no sect ; but his 
religion could not be that of one who knows how to venerate. 
He believed in God and heaven ; but his God and heaven 
were those of a man in whom awe, imagination, and tender- 
ness lack. 

The weakness of his powers of comparison made him 
inconsistent ; while he professed some excellent general 
doctrines of mutual toleration and forbearance, he cherished 
towards certain classes a bigoted antipathy : he spoke of 
' parsons ' and all who belonged to parsons, of ' lords ' and 
the appendages of lords, with a harshness, sometimes an 
insolence, as unjust as it was insufferable. He could not 
place himself in the position of those he vituperated : he 
could not compare their errors with their temptations, their 
defects with their disadvantages ; he could not realise the 
effect of such and such circumstances on himself similarly 
situated, and he would often express the most ferocious and 
tyrannical wishes regarding those who had acted, as he 
thought, ferociously and tyrannically. To judge by his 
threats, he would have employed arbitrary, even cruel, 
means to advance the cause of freedom and equality, 


Equality yes, Mr. Yorke talked about equality, but at 
heart he was a proud man : very friendly to his workpeople, 
very good to all who were beneath him, and submitted 
quietly to be beneath him, but haughty as Beelzebub to 
whomsoever the world deemed (for he deemed no man) 
his superior. Revolt was in his blood : he could not bear 
control ; his father, his grandfather before him, could not 
bear it, and his children after him never could. 

The want of general benevolence made him very impatient 
of imbecility, and of all faults which grated on his strong, 
shrewd nature : it left no check to his cutting sarcasm. As 
he was not merciful, he would sometimes wound and wound 
again, without noticing how much he hurt, or caring how 
deep he thrust. 

As to the paucity of ideality in his mind, that can scarcely 
be called a fault : a fine ear for music, a correct eye for 
colour and form, left him the quality of taste ; and who 
cares for imagination? Who does not think it a rather 
dangerous, senseless attribute akin to weakness perhaps 
partaking of frenzy a disease rather than a gift of the 

Probably all think it so, but those who possess or fancy 
they possess it. To hear them speak you would believe 
that their hearts would be cold if that elixir did not flow 
about them ; that their eyes would be dim if that flame did 
not refine their vision ; that they would be lonely if this 
strange companion abandoned them. You would suppose 
that it imparted some glad hope to spring, some fine charm 
to summer, some tranquil joy to autumn, some consolation 
to winter, which you do not feel. An illusion, of course ; 
but the fanatics cling to their dream, and would not give it 
for gold. 

As Mr. Yorke did not possess poetic imagination him- 
self, he considered it a most superfluous quality in others. 
Painters and musicians he could tolerate, and even en- 
courage, because he could relish the results of their art ; he 
could see the charm of a fine picture and feel the pleasure of 


good music ; but a quiet poet whatever force struggled, 
whatever fire glowed, in his breast if he could not have 
played the man in the counting-house, or the tradesman in 
the Piece Hall, might have lived despised, and died scorned, 
under the eyes of Hiram Yorke. 

And as there are many Hiram Yorkes in the world, it is 
well that the true poet, quiet externally though he may be, 
has often a truculent spirit under his placidity, and is full of 
shrewdness in his meekness, and can measure the whole 
stature of those who look down on him, and correctly ascer- 
tain the weight and value of the pursuits they disdain him 
for not having followed. It is happy that he can have his 
own bliss, his own society with his great friend and goddess, 
Nature, quite independent of those who find little pleasure 
in him, and in whom he finds no pleasure at all. It is just, 
that while the world and circumstances often turn a dark, 
cold side to him and properly, too, because he first turns a 
dark, cold, careless side to them he should be able to main- 
tain a festal brightness and cherishing glow in his bosom, 
which makes all bright and genial for him ; while strangers, 
perhaps, deem his existence a Polar winter never gladdened 
by a sun. The true poet is not one whit to be pitied ; and 
he is apt to laugh in his sleeve, when any misguided sym- 
pathizer whines over his wrongs. Even when utilitarians 
sit in judgment on him, and pronounce him and his art 
useless, he hears the sentence with such a hard derision, such 
a broad, deep, comprehensive, and merciless contempt of the 
unhappy Pharisees who pronounce it, that he is rather to be 
chidden than condoled with. These, however, are not Mr. 
Yorke's reflections ; and it is with Mr. Yorke we have at 
present to do. 

I have told you some of his faults, reader ; as to his 
good points, he was one of the most honourable and capable 
men in Yorkshire : even those who disliked him were forced 
to respect him. He was much beloved by the poor, because 
he was thoroughly kind and very fatherly to them. To his 
workmen he was con oiderate and cordial : when he dismissed 


them from an occupation, he would try to set them on to 
something else ; or, if that was impossible, help them to 
remove with their families to a district where work might 
possibly be had. It must also be remarked that if, as some- 
times chanced, any individual amongst his ' hands ' showed 
signs of insubordination, Yorke who, like many who abhor 
being controlled, knew how to control with vigour had the 
secret of crushing rebellion in the germ, of eradicating it like 
a bad weed, so that it never spread or developed within the 
sphere of his authority. Such being the happy state of his 
own affairs, he felt himself at liberty to speak with the 
utmost severity of those who were differently situated ; to 
ascribe whatever was unpleasant in their position entirely to 
their own fault, to sever himself from the masters, and 
advocate freely the cause of the operatives. 

Mr. Yorke's family was the first and oldest in the district ; 
and he, though not the wealthiest, was one of the most 
influential men. His education had been good : in his youth, 
before the French Kevolution, he had travelled on the con- 
tinent : he was an adept in the French and Italian languages. 
During a two years' sojourn in Italy, he had collected many 
good paintings and tasteful rarities, with which his residence 
was now adorned. His manners, when he liked, were those 
of a finished gentleman of the old school ; his conversation! 
when he was disposed to please, was singularly interesting 
and original; and if he usually expressed himself in the 
Yorkshire dialect, it was because he chose to do so, preferring 
his native Doric to a more refined vocabulary. ' A Yorkshire 
burr,' he affirmed, ' was as much better than a cockney's lisp, 
as a bull's bellow than a ration's squeak.' 

Mr. Yorke knew every one, and was known by every one 
for miles round ; yet his intimate acquaintances were very 
few. Himself thoroughly original, he had no taste for what 
was ordinary : a racy, rough character, high or low, ever 
found acceptance with him ; a refined, insipid personage, 
however exalted in station, was his aversion. He would 
spend an hour any time in talking freely with a shrewd 


workman of his own, or with some queer sagacious old woman 
amongst his cottagers, when he would have grudged a moment 
to a common-place fine gentleman, or to the most fashionable 
and elegant, if frivolous, lady. His preferences on these 
points he carried to an extreme, forgetting that there may 
be amiable and even admirable characters amongst those who 
cannot be original. Yet he made exceptions to his own rule : 
there was a certain order of mind, plain, ingenuous, neglect- 
ing refinement, almost devoid of intellectuality, and quite 
incapable of appreciating what was intellectual in him ; but 
which, at the same time, never felt disgust at his rudeness, 
was not easily wounded by his sarcasm, did not closely 
analyze his sayings, doings, or opinions ; with which he 
was peculiarly at ease, and, consequently, which he peculiarly 
preferred. He was lord amongst such characters. They, 
while submitting implicitly to his influence, never acknow- 
ledged, because they never reflected on, his superiority ; they 
were quite tractable, therefore, without running the smallest 
danger of being servile ; and their unthinking, easy, artless 
insensibility was as acceptable, because as convenient, to Mr. 
Yorke, as that of the chair he sat on, or of the floor he trod. 

It will have been observed that he was not quite uncordial 
with Mr. Moore ; he had two or three reasons for entertaining 
a faint partiality to that gentleman. It may sound odd, but 
the first of these was that Moore spoke English with a foreign, 
and French with a perfectly pure accent ; and that his dark, 
thin face, with its fine though rather wasted lines, had a 
most anti-British and anti-Yorkshire look. These points 
seem frivolous, unlikely to influence a character like Yorke's : 
but, the fact is, they recalled old, perhaps pleasurable associa- 
tions : they brought back his travelling, his youthful days. He 
had seen, amidst Italian cities and scenes, faces like Moore's ; 
he had heard, in Parisian caf6s and theatres, voices like 
his ; he was young then, and when he looked at and listened 
to the alien, he seemed young again. 

Secondly, he had known Moore's father, and had had 
dealings with him : that was a more substantial, though by 


no means a more agreeable tie ; for, as his firm had been 
connected with Moore's in business, it had also, in some 
measure, been implicated in its losses. 

Thirdly, he had found Robert himself a sharp man of busi- 
ness. He saw reason to anticipate that he would in the end, by 
one means or another, make money ; and he respected both 
his resolution and acuteness ; perhaps, also, his hardness. 
A fourth circumstance which drew them together was that 
of Mr. Yorke being one of the guardians of the minor on 
whose estate Hollow's-mill was situated ; consequently 
Moore, in the course of his alterations and improvements, 
had frequent occasion to consult him. 

As to the other guest now present in Mr. Yorke's parlour, 
Mr. Helstone, between him and his host there existed a 
double antipathy : the antipathy of nature and that of circum- 
stances. The free-thinker hated the formalist ; the lover of 
liberty detested the disciplinarian : besides, it was said that 
in former years they had been rival suitors of the same lady. 

Mr. Yorke, as a general rule, was, when young, noted for 
his preference of sprightly and dashing women : a showy 
shape and air, a lively wit, a ready tongue, chiefly seemed 
to attract him. He never, however, proposed to any of these 
brilliant belles whose society he sought ; and all at once he 
seriously fell in love with, and eagerly wooed a girl who 
presented a complete contrast to those he had hitherto 
noticed : a girl with the face of a Madonna ; a girl of living 
marble ; stillness personified. No matter that, when he spoke 
to her, she only answered him in monosyllables ; no matter that 
his sighs seemed unheard, that his glances were unreturned, 
that she never responded to his opinions, rarely smiled at his 
jests, paid him no respect and no attention ; no matter that 
she seemed the opposite of everything feminine he had ever, 
in his whole life been known to admire : for him Mary Cave 
was perfect, because somehow, for some reason no doubt he 
had a reason he loved her. 

Mr. Helstone, at that time curate of Briarfield, loved 
Mary too ; or, at any rate, he fancied her. Several others 


admired her, for she was beautiful as a monumental angel ; 
but the clergyman was preferred for his office' sake : that 
office probably investing him with some of the illusion 
necessary to allure to the commission of matrimony, and 
which Miss Cave did not find in any of the young wool- 
staplers, her other adorers. Mr. Helstone neither had, nor 
professed to have, Mr. Yorke's absorbing passion for her : 
he had none of the humble reverence which seemed to subdue 
most of her suitors ; he saw her more as she really was than 
the rest did ; he was, consequently, more master of her and 
himself. She accepted him at the first offer, and they were 

Nature never intended Mr. Helstone to make a very good 
husband, especially to a quiet wife. He thought, so long 
as a woman was silent, nothing ailed her, and she wanted 
nothing. If she did not complain of solitude, solitude, 
however continued, could not be irksome to her. If she did 
not talk and put herself forward, express a partiality for this, 
an aversion to that, she had no partialities or aversions, and 
it was useless to consult her tastes. He made no pretence 
of comprehending women, or comparing them with men : 
they were a different, probably a very inferior order of 
existence ; a wife could not be her husband's companion, 
much less his confidant, much less his stay. His wife, after 
a year or two, was of no great importance to him in any 
shape ; and when she one day, as he thought, suddenly 
for he had scarcely noticed her decline but, as others 
thought, gradually, took her leave of him and of life, and 
there was only a still beautiful-featured mould of clay left, 
cold and white, in the conjugal couch, he felt his bereave- 
mentwho shall say how little ? Yet, perhaps, more than 
he seemed to feel it ; for he was not a man from whom grief 
easily wrung tears. 

His dry-eyed and sober mourning scandalised an old 
housekeeper, and likewise a female attendant, who had 
waited upon Mrs. Helstone in her sickness : and who, 
perhaps, had had opportunities of learning more of the 


deceased lady's nature, of her capacity for feeling and loving, 
than her husband knew : they gossiped together over the 
corpse, related anecdotes, with embellishments of her lingering 
decline, and its real or supposed cause ; in short, they worked 
each other up to some indignation against the austere little 
man, who sat examining papers in an adjoining room, un- 
conscious of what opprobrium he was the object. 

Mrs. Helstone was hardly under the sod when rumours 
began to be rife in the neighbourhood that she had died of a 
broken heart ; these magnified quickly into reports of hard 
usage, and, finally, details of harsh treatment on the part ot 
her husband : reports grossly untrue, but not the less eagerly 
received on that account. Mr. Yorke heard them, partly 
believed them. Already, of course, he had no friendly 
feeling to his successful rival ; though himself a married 
man now, and united to a woman who seemed a complete 
contrast to Mary Cave in all respects, he could not forget 
the great disappointment of his life ; and when he heard 
that what would have been so precious to him had been 
neglected, perhaps abused by another, he conceived for that 
other a rooted and bitter animosity. 

Of the nature and strength of this animosity, Mr. 
Helstone was but half aware : he neither knew how much 
Yorke had loved Mary Cave, what he had felt on losing her, 
nor was he conscious of the calumnies concerning his treat- 
ment of her, familiar to every ear in the neighbourhood but 
his own. He believed political and religious differences 
alone separated him and Mr. Yorke ; had he known how the 
case really stood, he would hardly have been induced by any 
persuasion to cross his former rival's threshold. 

Mr. Yorke did not resume his lecture of Eobert Moore ; 
the conversation ere long recommenced in a more general 
form, though still in a somewhat disputative tone. The un- 
quiet state of the country, the various depredations lately 
committed on mill-property in the district, supplied abundant 
matter for disagreement ; especially as each of the three 


gentlemen present differed more or less in his views on these 
subjects. Mr. Helstone thought the masters aggrieved, the 
workpeople unreasonable : he condemned sweepingly the 
wide-spread spirit of disaffection against constituted authori- 
ties, the growing indisposition to bear with patience evils 
he regarded as inevitable : the cures he prescribed were 
vigorous government interference, strict magisterial vigilance; 
when necessary, prompt military coercion. 

Mr. Yorke wished to know whether this interference, 
vigilance, and coercion would feed those who were hungry, 
give work to those who wanted work, and whom no man 
would hire. He scouted the idea of inevitable evils ; he said 
public patience was a camel, on whose back the last atom 
that could be borne had already been laid, and that resistance 
was now a duty : the wide-spread spirit of disaffection against 
constituted authorities he regarded as the most promising 
sign of the times ; the masters, he allowed, were truly 
aggrieved, but their main grievances had been heaped on 
them by a ' corrupt, base, and bloody ' government (these 
were Mr. Yorke's epithets). Madmen like Pitt, demons like 
Castlereagh, mischievous idiots like Perceval, were the 
tyrants, the curses of the country, the destroyers of her trade. 
It was their infatuated perseverance in an unjustifiable, a 
hopeless, a ruinous war, which had brought the nation to its 
present pass. It was their monstrously oppressive taxation, 
it was the infamous ' Orders in Council,' the originators of 
which deserved impeachment and the scaffold, if ever public 
men did that hung a millstone about England's neck. 

' But where was the use of talking ? ' he demanded. 
' What chance was there of reason being heard in a land 
that was king-ridden, priest-ridden, peer-ridden where a 
lunatic was the nominal monarch, an unprincipled debauchee 
the real ruler ; where such an insult to common sense as 
hereditary legislators was tolerated where such a humbug 
as a bench of bishops such an arrogant abuse as a pampered, 
persecuting established Church was endured and venerated 
where a standing army was maintained, and a host of 


lazy parsons and their pauper families were kept on the fat 
of the land ? ' 

Mr. Helstone, rising up and putting on his shovel-hat, 
ohserved in reply, ' That in the course of his life he had met 
with two or three instances where sentiments of this sort 
had been very bravely maintained so long as health, strength, 
and worldly prosperity had been the allies of him who pro- 
fessed them ; but thei'e came a time,' he said, ' to all men, 
" when the keepers of the house should tremble ; when they 
should be afraid of that which is high, and fear should be in 
the way ; " and that time was the test of the advocate of 
anarchy and rebellion, the enemy of religion and order. Ere 
now,' he affirmed, ' he had been called upon to read those 
prayers our Church has provided for the sick, by the miserable 
dying-bed of one of her most rancorous foes ; he had seen 
such a one stricken with remorse, solicitous to discover a 
place for repentance, and unable to find any, though he 
sought it carefully with tears. He must forewarn Mr. Yorke, 
that blasphemy against God and the king was a deadly sin, 
and that there was such a thing as " judgment to come." ' 

Mr. Yorke ' believed fully that there was such a thing as 
judgment to come. If it were otherwise, it would be difficult 
to imagine how all the scoundrels who seemed triumphant 
in this world, who broke innocent hearts with impunity, 
abused unmerited privileges, were a scandal to honourable 
callings, took the bread out of the mouths of the poor, brow- 
beat the humble, and truckled meanly to the rich and proud 
were to be properly paid off, in such coin as they had 
earned. But,' he added, ' whenever he got low-spirited about 
such like goings-on, and their seeming success in this mucky 
lump of a planet, he just reached down t' owd book ' (pointing 
to a great Bible in the bookcase), ' opened it like at a chance, 
and he was sure to light of a verse blazing wi' a blue brim- 
stone low that set all straight. He knew,' he said, ' where 
some folk war bound for, just as weel as if an angel wi' great 
white wings had come in ower t' door-stone and told him.' 

' Sir,' said Mr. Helstone, collecting all his dignity, ' Sir 


the great knowledge of man is to know himself, and the 
bourne whither his own steps tend.' 

' Ay, ay ! you'll recollect, Mr. Helstone, that Ignorance 
was carried away from the very gates of heaven, home 
through the air, and thrust in at a door in the side of the hill 
which led down to hell.' 

1 Nor have I forgotten, Mr. Yorke, that Vain-Confidence, 
not seeing the way before him, fell into a deep pit, which 
was on purpose there made by the prince of the grounds, to 
catch vain-glorious fools withal, and was dashed to pieces 
with his fall.' 

' Now,' interposed Mr. Moore, who had hitherto sat a 
silent but amused spectator of this wordy combat, and whose 
indifference to the party politics of the day, as well as to the 
gossip of the neighbourhood, made him an impartial, if 
apathetic, judge of the merits of such an encounter ' you 
have both sufficiently black-balled each other, and proved 
how cordially you detest each other, and how wicked you 
think each other. For my part, my hate is still running in 
such a strong current against the fellows who have broken 
my frames, that I have none to spare for my private ac- 
quaintance, and still less for such a vague thing as a sect or 
a government : but really, gentlemen, you both seem very 
bad, by your own showing ; worse than ever I suspected you 
to be. I dare not stay all night with a rebel and blasphemer, 
like you, Yorke ; and I hardly dare ride home with a cruel 
and tyrannical ecclesiastic, like Mr. Helstone.' 

' I am going, however, Mr. Moore,' said the Eector sternly : 
' come with me or not, as you please.' 

' Nay, he shall not have the choice he shall go with 
you,' responded Yorke. ' It's midnight, and past ; and I'll 
have nob'dy staying up i' my house any longer. Ye mun 
all go.' 

He rang the bell. 

1 Deb,' said he to the servant who answered it, ' clear 
them folk out o' t' kitchen, and lock t' doors, and be off to 
bed. Here is your way, gentlemen,' he continued to his 


guests ; and, lighting them through the passage, he fairly 
put them out at his front-door. 

They met their party hurrying out pell-mell by the back 
way ; their horses stood at the gate ; they mounted, and 
rode off Moore laughing at their abrupt dismissal, Helstone 
deeply indignant thereat. 


MOORE'S good spirits were still with him when he rose next 
morning. He and Joe Scott had both spent the night in the 
mill, availing themselves of certain sleeping accommodations 
producible from recesses in the front and back counting- 
houses : the master, always an early riser, was up somewhat 
sooner even than usual : he awoke his man by singing a 
French song as he made his toilet. 

' Ye're not custen dahm, then, maister ? ' cried Joe. 

' Not a stiver, mon gar<jon which moans, my lad get 
up, and we'll take a turn through the mill before the hands 
come in, and I'll explain my future plans. We'll have the 
machinery yet, Joseph ; you never heard of Bruce, perhaps ? ' 

' And th' arrand (spider) ? Yes, but I hev : I've read 
th' history o' Scotland, and happen knaw as mich on't as ye ; 
and I understand ye to mean to say ye'll persevere.' 

' I do.' 

' Is there mony o' your mak' i' your country ? ' inquired 
Joe, as he folded up his temporary bed, and put it away. 

' In my country ! Which is my country ? ' 

' Why, France isn't it ? ' 

' Not it, indeed ! The circumstance of the French having 
seized Antwerp, where I was born, docs not make me a 

' Holland, then ? ' 

' I am not a Dutchman : now you are confounding 
Antwerp with Amsterdam.' 

' Flanders ? ' 


' I scorn the insinuation, Joe ! I, a Flamand ! Have I 
a Flemish face ? the clumsy nose standing out the mean 
forehead falling back the pale blue eyes " a fleur de tete " ? 
Am I all body and no legs, like a Flamand ? But you don't 
know what they are like those Netherlanders. Joe, I'm an 
Anversois : my mother was an Anversoise, though she came 
of French lineage, which is the reason I speak French.' 

' But your father war Yorkshire, which maks ye a bit 
Yorkshire too ; and onybody may see ye're akin to us, ye're 
so keen o' making brass, and getting forrards." 

' Joe, you're an impudent dog ; but I've always been 
accustomed to a boorish sort of insolence from my youth 
up : the " classe ouvriere " that is, the working people in 
Belgium bear themselves brutally towards their employers ; 
and by brutally, Joe, I mean brutalcment which, perhaps, 
when properly translated, should be roughly' 

1 We allus speak our minds i' this country ; and them 
young parsons and grand folk fro' London is shocked at wcr 
" incivility," and we like weel enough to gi'e 'em summat to 
be shocked at, 'cause it's sport to us to watch 'em turn up 
the whites o' their een, and spreed out their bits o' hands, 
like as they're flayed \vi* bogards, and then to hear 'em say, 
nipping off their words short like " Dear ! dear ! Whet 
seveges ! How very corse ! " 

' You arc savages, Joe ; you don't suppose you're civilized, 
do you ? ' 

' Middling, middling, maister. I reckon 'at us manu- 
facturing lads i' th' north is a deal more intelligent, and 
knaws a deal more nor th' farming folk i' th' south. Trade 
sharpens wer wits ; and them that's mechanics, like me, is 
forced to think. Ye know, what wi" looking after machinery 
and sich like, I've getten into that way that when I see an 
effect, I look straight out for a cause, and I oft lig hold on't 
to purpose; and then I like reading, and I'm curious to knaw 
what them that reckons to govern us aims to do for us and 
wi' us : and there's many 'cuter nor me ; there's many a one 
amang them gi'easy chaps 'at smells o' oil, and amang them 


dyers wi' blue and black skins, that has a long head, and that 
can tell what a fooil of a law is, as well as ye or old Yorke, 
and a deal better nor soft uns like Christopher Sykes o' 
Whinbury, and greet hectoring nowts like yond' Irish Peter, 
Helstone's curate.' 

' You think yourself a clever fellow, I know, Scott.' 

' Ay ! I'm fairish ; I can tell cheese fro' chalk, and I'm 
varry weel aware that I've improved sich opportunities as I 
have had, a deal better nor some 'at reckons to be aboon me ; 
but there's thousands i' Yorkshire that's as good as me, and 
a two-three that's better.' 

'You're a great man you're a sublime fellow: but 
you're a prig, a conceited noodle with it all, Joe ! You need 
not to think that because you've picked up a little knowledge 
of practical mathematics, and because you have found some 
scantling of the elements of chemistry at the bottom of a 
dying vat, that therefore you're a neglected man of science ; 
and you need not to suppose that because the course of trade 
does not always run smooth, and you, and such as you, are 
sometimes short of work and of bread, that therefore your 
class are martyrs, and that the whole form of government 
under which you live is wrong. And, moreover, you need 
not for a moment to insinuate that the virtues have taken 
refuge in cottages and wholly abandoned slated houses. Let 
me tell you, I particularly abominate that sort of trash, 
because I know so well that human nature is human nature 
everywhere, whether under tile or thatch, and that in every 
specimen of human nature that breathes, vice and virtue are 
ever found blended, in smaller or greater proportions, and 
that the proportion is not determined by station. I have 
seen villains who were rich, and I have seen villains who 
were poor, and I have seen villains who were neither rich 
nor poor, but who had realised Agar's wish, and lived in fair 
and modest competency. The clock is going to strike six : 
away with you, Joe, and ring the mill bell.' 

It was now the middle of the month of February ; by six 
o'clock, therefore, dawn was just beginning to steal on night, 


to penetrate with a pale ray its brown obscurity, and give a 
demi-translucence to its opaque shadows. Pale enough that 
ray was on this particular morning ; no colour tinged the 
east, no flush warmed it. To see what a heavy lid day slowly 
lifted, what a wan glance she flung along the hills, you would 
have thought the sun's fire quenched in last night's floods. 
The breath of this morning was chill as its aspect ; a raw 
wind stirred the mass of night-cloud, and showed, as it slowly 
rose leaving a colourless, silver-gleaming ring all round the 
horizon not blue sky, but a stratum of paler vapour beyond. 
It had ceased to rain, but the earth was sodden, and the pools 
and rivulets were full. 

The mill-windows were alight, the bell still rang loud, 
and now the little children came running in, in too great a 
hurry, let us hope, to feel very much nipped by the inclement 
air ; and, indeed, by contrast, perhaps the morning appeared 
rather favourable to them than otherwise ; for they had often 
come to their work that winter through snow-storms, through 
heavy rain, through hard frost. 

Mr. Moore stood at the entrance to watch them pass : he 
counted them as they went by ; to those who came rather 
late he said a word of reprimand, which was a little more 
sharply repeated by Joe Scott when the lingerers reached the 
work-rooms. Neither master nor overlooker spoke savagely ; 
they were not savage men either of them, though it appeared 
both were rigid, for they fined a delinquent who came con- 
siderably too late : Mr. Moore made him pay his penny down 
ere he entered, and informed him that the next repetition of 
the fault would cost him twopence. 

Rules, no doubt, are necessary in such cases, and coarse 
and cruel masters will make coarse and cruel rules, which, at 
the time we treat of at least, they used sometimes to enforce 
tyrannically : but, though I describe imperfect characters 
(every character in this book will be found to be more or less 
imperfect, my pen refusing to draw anything in the model 
line,) I have not undertaken to handle degraded or utte:ly 
infamous ones. Child-torturers, slave masters and drivers, 


I consign to the hands of jailers ; the novelist may be excused 
from sullying his page with the record of their deeds. 

Instead, then, of harrowing up my reader's soul, and 
delighting his organ of Wonder with effective descriptions 
of stripes and scourgings, I am happy to be able to inform 
him that neither Mr. Moore nor his overlooker ever struck a 
child in their mill. Joe had, indeed, once very severely 
flogged a son of his own for telling a lie and persisting in 
it ; but, like his employer, he was too phlegmatic, too calm, 
as well as too reasonable a man, to make corporal chastise- 
ment other than the exception to his treatment of the 

Mr. Moore haunted his mill, his mill-yard, his dye-house, 
and his warehouse, till the sickly dawn strengthened into 
day. The sun even rose, at least a white disk, clear, 
tintless, and almost chill-looking as ice, peeped over the 
dark crest of a hill, changed to silver the livid edge of the 
cloud above it, and looked solemnly down the whole length 
of the den, or narrow dale, to whose strait bounds we are at 
present limited. It was eight o'clock ; the mill lights were 
all extinguished ; the signal was given for breakfast ; the 
children, released for half an hour from toil, betook them- 
selves to the little tin cans which held their coffee, and to 
the small baskets which contained their allowance of bread. 
Let us hope they had enough to eat ; it would be a pity were 
it otherwise* 

And now, at last, Mr. Moore quitted the mill-yard, and 
bent his steps to his dwelling-house. It was only a short 
distance from the factory, but the hedge and high bank on 
each side of the lane which conducted to it seemed to give 
it something of the appearance and feeling of seclusion. It 
was a small white-washed place, with a green porch over the 
door ; scanty brown stalks showed in the garden soil near 
this porch, and likewise beneath the windows, stalks 
budless and flowerless now, but giving dim prediction of 
trained and blooming creepers for summer days. A grass 
plat and borders fronted the cottage ; the borders presented 

62 SHtRLEt 

only black mould yet, except where, in sheltered nooks, the 
first shoots of snowdrop or crocus peeped, green as emerald, 
from the earth. The spring was late ; it had been a severe 
and prolonged winter ; the last deep snow had but just dis- 
appeared before yesterday's rains ; on the hills, indeed, white 
remnants of it yet gleamed, flecking the hollows and crown- 
ing the peaks : the lawn was not verdant, but bleached, as 
was the grass on the bank, and under the hedge in the lane. 
Three trees, gracefully grouped, rose beside the cottage ; they 
were not lofty, but having no rivals near, they looked well 
and imposing where they grew. Such was Mr. Moore's 
home ; a snug nest for content and contemplation, but one 
within which the wings of action and ambition could not 
long lie folded. 

Its air of modest comfort seemed to possess no particular 
attraction for its owner; instead of entering the house at 
once, he fetched a spade from a little shed, and began to 
work in the garden. For about a quarter of an hour he dug 
on uninterrupted : at length, however, a window opened, and 
a female voice called to him : ' Eh, bien ! Tu ne dejeunes 
pas ce matin ? ' 

The answer, and the rest of the conversation, was in 
French ; but, as this is an English book, I shall translate it 
into English. 

' Is breakfast ready, Hortense ? ' 
' Certainly ; it has been ready half-an-hour.' 
1 Then I am ready, too : I have a canine hunger.' 
He threw down his spade and entered the house : the 
narrow passage conducted him to a small parlour, where a 
breakfast of coffee and bread and butter, with the somewhat 
un-English accompaniment of stewed pears, was spread on 
the table. Over these viands presided the lady who had 
spoken from the window. I must describe her before I go 
any further. 

She seemed a little older than Mr. Moore, perhaps she 
was thirty-five, tall, and proportionately stout ; she had very 
black hair, for the present twisted up in curl-papers ; a high 


colour in her cheeks, a small nose, a pair of little black eyes. 
The lower part of her face was large in proportion to the 
upper ; her forehead was small and rather corrugated ; she had 
a fretful, though not an ill-natured expression of countenance ; 
there was something in her whole appearance one felt inclined 
to be half provoked with, and half amused at. The strangest 
point was her dress : a stuff petticoat and a striped cotton 
camisole. The petticoat was short, displaying well a pair 
of feet and ankles which left much to be desired in the 
article of symmetry. 

You will think I have depicted a remarkable slattern, 
reader ; not at all. Hortense Moore (she was Mr. Moore's 
sister) was a very orderly, economical person ; the petticoat, 
camisole, and curl-papers were her morning costume, in which, 
of forenoons, she had always been accustomed to ' go .her 
household ways ' in her own country. She did not choose 
to adopt English fashions because she was obliged to live 
in England ; she adhered to her old Belgian modes, quite 
satisfied that there was a merit in so doing. 

Mademoiselle had an excellent opinion of herself, an 
opinion not wholly undeserved, for she possessed some good 
and sterling qualities ; but she rather over-estimated the 
kind and degree of these qualities, and quite left out of the 
account sundry little defects which accompanied them. You 
could never have persuaded her that she was a prejudiced 
and narrow-minded person, that she was too susceptible on 
the subject of her own dignity and importance, and too apt 
to take offence about trifles ; yet all this was true. How- 
ever, where her claims to distinction were not opposed, and 
where her prejudices were not offended, she could be kind 
and friendly enough. To her two brothers (for there was 
another G6rard Moore besides Kobert) she was very much 
attached. As the sole remaining representatives of their 
decayed family, the persons of both were almost sacred in her 
eyes : of Louis, however, she knew less than of Robert ; he 
had been sent to England when a mere boy, and had 
received his education at an English school. His education 


not being such as to adapt him for trade, pei'haps, too, his 
natural bent not inclining him to mercantile pursuits, he 
had, when the blight of hereditary prospects rendered it 
necessary for him to push his own fortune, adopted the very 
arduous and very modest career of a teacher ; he had been 
usher in a school, and was said now to be tutor in a private 
family. Hortense, when she mentioned Louis, described 
him as having what she called ' desmoyens,' but as being too 
backward and quiet : her praise of Robert was in a different 
strain, less qualified ; she was very proud of him ; she 
regarded him as the greatest man in Europe ; all he said 
and did was remarkable in her eyes, and she expected others 
to behold him from the same point of view ; nothing could 
be more irrational, monstrous, and infamous, than opposition 
from any quarter to Robert, unless it were opposition to 

Accordingly, as soon as the said Robert was seated at 
the breakfast table, and she had helped him to a portion of 
stewed pears, and cut him a good-sized Belgian tartine, she 
began to pour out a flood of amazement and horror at the 
transaction of last night, the destruction of the frames. 

' Quelle id6e ! to destroy them. Quelle action honteuse ! 
On voyait bien que les ouvriers de ce pays 6taient a la fois 
betes et mediants. C'6 tait absolument comme les domestiques 
Anglais, les servantes surtout : rien d'insupportable comme 
cette Sara, par exemple ! ' 

' She looks clean and industrious/ Mr. Moore remarked. 

1 Looks ! I don't know how she looks ; and I do not say 
that she is altogether dirty or idle : mais elle est d'une 
insolence ! She disputed with me a quarter of an hour 
yesterday about the cooking of the beef ; she said I boiled it 
to rags, that English people would never be able to eat such 
a dish as our bouilli, that the bouillon \vas no better than 
greasy warm water, and as to the choucroute, she affirms 
she cannot touch it ! That barrel we have in the cellar 
delightfully prepared by my own hands she termed a tub 
of hog-wash, which means food for pigs. I am harassed with 


the girl, and yet I cannot part with her lest I should get a 
worse. You are in the same position with your workmen, 
pauvre cher frere ! ' 

'I am afraid you are not very happy in England, 

1 It is my duty to be happy where you are, brother ; but 
otherwise, there are certainly a thousand things which 
make me regret our native town. All the world here 
appears to me ill-bred (mal-eleve"). I find my habits con- 
sidered ridiculous : ii a girl out of your mill chances to come 
into the kitchen and find me in my jupon and camisole 
preparing dinner (for you know I cannot trust Sarah to cook 
a single dish), she sneers. If I accept an invitation out to 
tea, which I have done once or twice, I perceive I am put 
quite into the background ; I have not that attention paid 
me which decidedly is my due. Of what an excellent family 
are the G6rards, as we know, and the Moores also ! They 
have a right to claim a certain respect, and to feel wounded 
when it is withheld from them. In Antwerp, I was always 
treated with distinction ; here, one would think that when 
I open my lips in company, I speak English with a ridiculous 
accent, whereas I am quite assured that I pronounce it 

' Hortense, in Antwerp we were known rich ; in England 
we were never known but poor.' 

' Precisely, and thus mercenary are mankind. Again, 
dear brother, last Sunday, if you recollect, was very wet ; 
accordingly, I went to church in my neat black sabots, 
objects one would not indeed wear in a fashionable city ; 
but which in the country I have ever been accustomed to 
use for walking in dirty roads. Believe me, as I paced up 
the aisle, composed and tranquil, as I am always, four ladies, 
and as many gentlemen, laughed and hid their faces behind 
their prayer-books.' 

' Well, well ! don't put on the sabots again. I told you 
before I thought they were not quite the thing for this 


' But, brother, they are not common sabots, such as the 
peasantry wear. I tell you, they are sabots noirs, tres 
propres, tres convenables. At Mons and Leuze cities not 
very far removed from the elegant capital of Brussels it is 
very seldom that the respectable people wear anything else 
for walking in winter. Let any one try to wade the mud of 
the Flemish chauss6es in a pair of Paris brodequins, on m'en 
dirait des nouvelles ! ' 

' Never mind Mons and Leuze, and the Flemish 
chaussees ; do at Eome as the Romans do ; and as to the 
camisole and jupon, I am not quite sure about them either. 
I never see an English lady dressed in such garments. Ask 
Caroline Helstone.' 

' Caroline ! / ask Caroline ? / consult her about my 
dress ? It is she who on all points should consult me ; she 
is a child.' 

' She is eighteen, or at the least seventeen ; old enough 
to know all about gowns, petticoats, and chaussures.' 

1 Do not spoil Caroline, I entreat you, brother ; do not 
make her of more consequence than she ought to be. 
At present she is modest and unassuming : let us keep 
her so.' 

' With all my heart. Is she coming this morning ? ' 

' She will come at ten, as usual, to take her French 

' You don't find that she sneers at you, do you ? ' 

' She does not, she appreciates me better than any one 
else here ; but then she has more intimate opportunities of 
knowing me ; she sees that I have education, intelligence, 
manner, principles ; all, in short, which belongs to a person 
well born and well bred.' 

' Are you at all fond of her ? ' 

' For fond I cannot say : I am not one who is prone to 
take violent fancies, and, consequently, my friendship is the 
more to be depended on. I have a regard for her as my 
relative ; her position also inspires interest, and her conduct 
as my pupil lias hitherto been such as rather to enhance 


than diminish the attachment that springs from other 

' She behaves pretty well at lessons ? ' 

' To me she behaves very well ; but you are conscious, 
brother, that I have a manner calculated to repel over- 
familiarity, to win esteem, and to command respect. Yet, 
possessed of penetration, I perceive clearly that Caroline is 
not perfect ; that there is much to be desired in her.' 

1 Give me a last cup of coffee, and while I am drinking it 
amuse me with an account of her faults.' 

' Dear brother, I am happy to see you eat your breakfast 
with relish, after the fatiguing night you have passed. 
Caroline, then, is defective ; but, with my forming hand arid 
almost motherly care, she may improve. There is about her 
an occasional something a reserve, I think which I do 
not quite like, because it is not sufficiently girlish and sub- 
missive ; and there are glimpses of an unsettled hurry in her 
nature, which put me out. Yet she is usually most tranquil, 
too dejected and thoughtful indeed sometimes. In time, I 
doubt not, I shall make her uniformly sedate and decorous, 
without being unaccountably pensive. I ever disapprove 
what is not intelligible.' 

' I don't understand your account in the least ; what do 
you mean by " unsettled hurries," for instance ? ' 

' An example will, perhaps, be the most satisfactory 
explanation. I sometimes, you are aware, make her read 
French poetry by way of practice in pronunciation. She 
has, in the course of her lessons, gone through much cf 
Corneille and Racine, in a very steady, sober spirit, such as 
I approve. Occasionally she showed, indeed, a degree of 
languor in the perusal of those esteemed authors, partaking 
rather of apathy than sobriety, and apathy is what I cannot 
tolerate in those who have the benefit of my instructions ; 
besides, one should not be apathetic in studying standard 
works. The other day I put into her hands a volume of 
short fugitive pieces. I sent her to the window to learn one 
by heart, and when I looked up I saw her turning the leaves 


over impatiently, and curling her lip, absolutely with scorn 
as she surveyed the little poems cursorily. I chid her. 
' Ma cousine,' said she, ' tout cela m'ennuie a la mort.' I 
told her this was improper language. ' Dieu ! ' she ex- 
claimed. ' II n'y a done pas deux lignes de po^sie dans 
toute la litte'rature fra^aise ? ' I inquired what she meant. 
She begged my pardon with proper submission. Erelong 
she was still ; I saw her smiling to herself over the book ; 
she began to learn assiduously. In half an hour she came 
and stood before me, presented the volume, folded her hands, 
as I always require her to do, and commenced the repetition 
of that short thing by Ch6nier, " La Jeune Captive." If you 
had heard the manner in which she went through this, and 
in which she uttered a few incoherent comments when she 
had done, you would have known what I meant by the 
phrase "unsettled hurry." One would have thought Che'nier 
was more moving than all Racine and all Corneille. You, 
brother, who have so much sagacity, will discern that this 
disproportionate preference argues an ill- regulated mind ; 
but she is fortunate in a preceptress. I will give her a 
system, a method of thought, a set of opinions ; I will give 
her the perfect control and guidance of her feelings.' 

' Be sure you do, Hortense : here she comes. That was 
her shadow passed the window, I believe.' 

' Ah ! truly. She is too early half an hour before her 
time. My child, what brings you here before I have break- 
fasted ? ' 

This question was addressed to an individual who now 
entered the room, a young girl, wrapped in a winter mantle, 
the folds of which were gathered with some grace round an 
apparently slender figure. 

' I came in haste to see how you were, Hortense, and 
how Robert was, too. I was sure you would be both grieved 
by what happened last night. I did not hear till this morn- 
ing : my uncle told me at breakfast.' 

' Ah ! it is unspeakable. You sympathize with us ? 
Your uncle sympathizes with us ? ' 


' My uncle is very angry ; but he was with Robert, I 
believe : was he not ? Did he not go with you to Stilbro' 

I Yes : we set out in very martial style, Caroline : but 
the prisoners we went to rescue met us half-way.' 

' Of course, nobody was hurt ? ' 

' Why, no ; only Joe Scott's wrists were a little galled 
with being pinioned too tightly behind his back.' 

' You were not there ? You were not with the waggons 
when they were attacked ? ' 

' No : one seldom has the fortune to be present at occur- 
rences at which one would particularly wish to assist.' 

' Where are you going this morning ? I saw Murgatroyd 
saddling your horse in the yard.' 

' To Whinbury : it is market day.' 

' Mr. Yorke is going too : I met him in his gig. Come 
home with him.' 


'Two are better than one, and nobody dislikes Mr. 
Yorke ; at least, poor people do not dislike him.' 

' Therefore he would be a protection to me, who am 

' Who are misunderstood : that, probably, is the word. 
Shall you be late ? Will he be late, cousin Hortense ? ' 

' It is too probable : he has often much business to 
transact at Whinbury. Have you brought your exercise- 
book, child ? ' 

' Yes. What time will you return, Robert ? ' 

I 1 generally return at seven. Do you wish me to be at 
home earlier ? ' 

' Try rather to be back by six. It is not absolutely dark 
at six now ; but by seven daylight is quite gone.' 

' And what danger is to be apprehended, Caroline, when 
daylight is gone ? What peril do you conceive comes as the 
companion of darkness for me ? ' 

' I am not sure that I can define my fears ; but we all 
have a certain anxiety at present about our friends. My 


uncle calls these times dangerous : he says, too, that mill- 
owners are unpopular.' 

' And I one of the most unpopular ? Is not that the 
fact ? You are reluctant to speak out plainly, but at heart 
you think me liable to Pearson's fate, who was shot at 
not, indeed, from behind a hedge, but in his own house, 
through his staircase-window, as he was going to bed.' 

' Anne Pearson showed me the bullet in the chamber- 
door,' remarked Caroline, gravely, as she folded her mantle, 
and arranged it and her muff on a side-table. ' You know,' 
she continued, ' there is a hedge all the way along the road 
from hei*e to Whinbuiy, and there are the Fieldhead planta- 
tions to pass ; but you will be back by six or before ? ' 

' Certainly he will,' affirmed Horfcense. ' And now, my 
child, prepare your lessons for repetition, while I put the 
peas to soak for the pure at dinner.' 

With this direction, she left the room. 

' You suspect I have many enemies, then, Caroline,' said 
Mr. Moore ; ' and, doubtless, you know me to be destitute of 
friends ? ' 

' Not destitute, Kobert. There is your sister, your 
brother Louis whom I have never seen there is Mr. 
Yorke, and there is my uncle ; besides, of course, many 

Eobert smiled. ' You would be puzzled to name your 
" many more," ' said he. ' But show me your exercise-book. 
What extreme pains you take with the writing ! My sister, 
I suppose, exacts this care : she wants to form you in all 
things after the model of a Flemish school-girl. What life 
are you destined for, Caroline ? What will you do with your 
French, drawing, and other accomplishments when they arc 
acquired ? ' 

' You may well say, when they are acquired ; for, as you 
are aware, till Horfcense began to teach me, I knew precious 
little. As to the life I am destined for, I cannot tell : I 
suppose, to keep my uncle's house, till -' she hesitated. 

Till what ? Till he dies ? ' 


I No. How harsh to say that ! I never think of his 
dying : he is only fifty-five. But till in short, till events 
offer other occupations for me.' 

' A remarkably vague prospect ! Are you content with 

' I used to be, formerly. Children, you know, have 
little reflection, or rather their reflections run on ideal 
themes. There are moments now when I am not quite 


' I am making no money earning nothing.' 

' You come to the point, Lina ; you, too, then wish to 
make money ? ' 

' I do : I should like an occupation ; and if I were a boy, 
it would not be so difficult to find one. I see such an easy, 
pleasant way of learning a business, and making my way in 

' Go on : let us hear what way ? ' 

I 1 could be apprenticed to your trade the cloth- trade : 
I could learn it of you, as we are distant relations. I would 
do the counting-house work, keep the books, and write the 
letters, while you went to market. I know you greatly 
desire to be rich, in order to pay your father's debts ; per- 
haps I could help you to get rich.' 

' Help me? You should think of yourself.' 

1 1 do think of myself ; but must one for ever think only 
of oneself ? ' 

' Of whom else do I think ? Of whom else dare I think ? 
The poor ought to have no large sympathies ; it is their duty 
to be narrow.' 

' No, Kobert ' 

' Yes, Caroline. Poverty is necessarily selfish, contracted, 
grovelling, anxious. Now and then a poor man's heart, 
when certain beams and dews visit it, may swell like the 
budding vegetation in yonder garden on this spring-day, may 
feel ripe to evolve in foliage perhaps blossom ; but he must 
not encourage the pleasant impulse ; he must invoke 


Prudence to check it, with that frosty breath of hers, which 
is as nipping as any north wind.' 

' No cottage would be happy then.' 

' When I speak of poverty, I do not so much mean the 
natural, habitual poverty of the working-man, as the em- 
barrassed penury of the man in debt ; my grub-worm is 
always a straitened, struggling, care-worn tradesman.' 

' Cherish hope, not anxiety. Certain ideas have become 
too fixed in your mind, it may be presumptuous to say it, but 
I have the impression that there is something wrong in your 
notions of the best means of attaining happiness : as there is 
in ' Second hesitation. 

' I am all ear, Caroline.' 

1 In (courage ! let me speak the truth) in your manner 
mind, I say only manner to these Yorkshire workpeople.' 

' You have often wanted to toll me that, have you not ? ' 

1 Yes ; often very often.' 

1 The faults of my manner are, I think, only negative. I 
am not proud ; what has a man in my position to be proud of ? 
I am only taciturn, phlegmatic, and joyless.' 

1 As if your living cloth-dressers were all machines like 
your frames and shears : in your own house you seem 

' To those in my own house I am no alien, which I am to 
these English clowns. I might act the benevolent with them, 
but acting is not my forte. I find them irrational, perverse ; 
they hinder me when I long to hurry forward. In treating 
them justly, I fulfil my whole duty towards them.' 

1 You don't expect them to love you, of course ? ' 

' Nor wish it.' 

1 Ah ! ' said the monitress, shaking her head, and heaving 
a deep sigh. With this ejaculation, indicative that she 
perceived a screw to be loose somewhere, but that it was out 
of her reach to set it right, she bent over her grammar, and 
sought the rule and exercise for the day. 

' I suppose I am not an affectionate man, Caroline ; the 
attachment of a very few suffices me.' 


1 If you please, Robert, will you mend me a pen or two 
before you go ? ' 

' First let me rule your book, for you always contrive to 
draw the lines aslant. . . . There now. . . . And 
now for the pens : you like a fine one, I think ? ' 

' Such as you generally make for me and Hortense ; not 
your own broad points.' 

' If I were of Louis's calling, I might stay at home and 
dedicate this morning to you and your studies : whereas I 
must spend it in Sykes' wool-warehouse.' 

' You will be making money.' 

' More likely losing it.' 

As he finished mending the pens, a horse, saddled and 
bridled, was brought up to the garden-gate. 

' There, Fred is ready for me ; I must go. I'll take one 
look to see what the spring has done in the south border, too, 

He quitted the room and went out into the garden -ground 
behind the mill. A sweet fringe of young verdure and opening 
flowers snowdrop, crocus, even primrose bloomed in the 
sunshine under the hot wall of the factory. Moore plucked 
here and there a blossom and leaf, till he had collected a 
little bouquet ; he returned to the parlour, pilfered a thread 
of silk from his sister's work-basket, tied the flowers, and laid 
them on Caroline's desk. 

' Now, good morning.' 

' Thank you, Robert : it is pretty ; it looks, as it lies there, 
like sparkles of sunshine and blue sky : good-morning.' 

He went to the door stopped opened his lips as if to 
speak said nothing, and moved on. He passed through the 
wicket, and mounted his horse : in a second he had flung 
himself from the saddle again, transferred the reins to 
Murgatroyd, and re-entered the cottage. 

' I forgot my gloves,' he said, appearing to take some- 
thing from the side-table ; then, as an impromptu thought, he 
remarked, ' You have no binding engagement at home perhaps, 
Caroline ? ' 


' I never have : some children's socks, which Mrs. 
Eamsden has ordered, to knit for the Jew-basket : but they 
will keep.' 

' Jew-basket be sold ! Never was utensil better 

named. Anything more Jewish than it its contents, and 
their prices cannot be conceived : but I see something, a very 
tiny curl, at the corners of your lip, which tells me that you 
know its merits as well as I do. Forget the Jew-basket, then, 
and spend the day here as a change. Your uncle won't 
break his heart at your absence ? ' 

She smiled. 


1 The old Cossack ! I daresay not,' muttered Moore. 
' Then stay and dine with Hortense ; she will be glad of your 
company ; I shall return in good time. We will have a little 
reading in the evening : the moon rises at half-past eight, 
and I will walk up to the Rectory with you at nine. Do you 
agree ? ' 

She nodded her head ; and her eyes lit up. 

Moore lingered yet two minutes : he bent over Caroline's 
denk and glanced at her grammar, he fingered her pen, he 
lifted her bouquet and played with it ; his horse stamped im- 
patient ; Fred Murgatroyd hemmed and coughed at the gate, 
as if he wondered what in the world his master was doing. 
' Good morning,' again said Moore, and finally vanished. 

Hortense, coming in ten minutes after, found, to her 
surprise, that Caroline had not yet commenced her exercise. 



MADEMOISELLE MOORE had that morning a somewhat absent- 
minded pupil. Caroline forgot, again and again, the explana- 
tions which were given to her ; however, she still bore with 
unclouded mood the chidings her inattention brought upon 
her. Sitting in the sunshine, near the window, she seemed 
to receive with its warmth a kind influence, which made her 
both happy and good. Thus disposed, she looked her best, 
and her best was a pleasing vision. 

To her had not been denied the gift of beauty ; it was not 
absolutely necessary to know her in order to like her ; she 
was fair enough to please, even at the first view. Her shape 
suited her age, it was girlish, light, and pliant ; every curve 
was neat, every limb proportionate : her face was expressive 
and gentle ; her eyes were handsome, and gifted at times with 
a winning beam that stole into the heart, with a language 
that spoke softly to the affections. Her mouth was very 
pretty ; she had a delicate skin, and a fine flow of brown hair, 
which she knew how to arrange with taste ; curls became her 
and she possessed them in picturesque profusion. Her style 
of dress announced taste in the wearer ; very unobtrusive in 
fashion, far from costly in material, but suitable in colour to 
the fair complexion with which it contrasted, and in make to 
the slight form which it draped. Her present winter garb 
was of merino, the same soft shade of brown as her hair ; the 
little collar round her neck lay over a pink ribbon, and was 
fastened with a pink knot : she wore no other decoration. 

So much for Carol! no Helstone's appearance; as to her 


character or intellect, if she had any, they must speak for 
themselves in due time. 

Her connections are soon explained. She was the child 
of parents separated soon after her birth, in consequence of 
disagreement of disposition. Her mother was the half-sister 
of Mr. Moore's father ; thus though there was no mixture 
of blood she was, in a distant sense, the cousin of Robert, 
Louis, and Hortense. Her father was the brother of Mr. 
Helstone a man of the character friends desire not to recall, 
after death has once settled all earthly accounts. He had 
rendered his wife unhappy : the reports which were known 
to be true concerning him, had given an air of probability to 
those which were falsely circulated respecting his better- 
principled brother. Caroline had never known her mother, 
as she was taken from her in infancy, and had not since 
seen her ; her father died comparatively young, and her 
uncle, the Rector, had for some years been her sole guardian. 
He was not, as we are aware, much adapted, either by 
nature or habits, to have the charge of a young girl : he had 
taken little trouble about her education ; probably, he would 
have taken none if she, finding herself neglected, had not 
grown anxious on her own account, and asked, every now 
and then, for a little attention, and for the means of acquir- 
ing such amount of knowledge as could not be dispensed 
with. Still, she had a depressing feeling that she was 
inferior, that her attainments were fewer than were usually 
possessed by girls of her age and station ; and very glad 
was she to avail herself of the kind offer made by her cousin 
Hortense, soon after the arrival of the latter at Hollow's- 
mill, to teach her French and fine needlework. Mdlle. 
Moore, for her part, delighted in the task, because it gave 
her importance ; she liked to lord it a little over a docile yet 
quick pupil. She took Caroline precisely at her own 
estimate, as an irregularly-taught, even ignorant girl ; and 
when she found that she made rapid and eager progress, it 
was to no talent, no application in the scholar, she ascribed 
the improvement, but entirely to her own superior method of 


teaching; when she found that Caroline, unskilled in 
routine, had a knowledge of her own desultory but varied, 
the discovery caused her no surprise, for she still imagined 
that from her conversation had the girl unawares gleaned 
these treasures : she thought it even when forced to feel 
that her pupil knew much on subjects whereof she knew 
little : the idea was not logical, but Hortense had perfect 
faith in it. 

Mademoiselle, who prided herself on possessing 'un 
esprit positif,' and on entertaining a decided preference for 
dry studies, kept her young cousin to the same as closely as 
she could. She worked her unrelentingly at the grammar 
of the French language, assigning her, as the most im- 
proving exercise she could devise, interminable 'analyses 
logiques.' These ' analyses ' were by no means a source 
of particular pleasure to Caroline ; she thought she could 
have learned French just as well without them, and grudged 
excessively the time spent in pondering over ' propositions 
principales et incidentes ; ' in deciding the ' incidente deter- 
minative,' and the ' incidente applicative ; ' in examining 
whether the proposition was 'pleine,' ' elliptique,' or 
'implicite.' Sometimes she lost herself in the maze, and 
when so lost, she would, now and then (while Hortense was 
rummaging her drawers up-stairs, an unaccountable 
occupation in which she spent a large portion of each day, 
arranging, disarranging, re-arrangiug and counter-arranging) 
carry her book to Robert in the counting-house, and get 
the rough place made smooth by his aid. j!ilr. Moore 
possessed a clear, tranquil brain of his own ; almost as soon 
as he looked at Caroline's little difficulties they seemed to 
dissolve beneath his eye : in two minutes he would explain 
all in two words give the key to the puzzle. She thought 
if Hortense could only teach like him, how much faster she 
might learn ! Repaying him by an admiring and grateful 
smile, rather shed at his feet than lifted to his face, she 
would leave the mill reluctantly to go back to the cottage, 
and then, while she completed the exercise, or worked out 


the sum (for Mdlle. Moore taught her arithmetic, too), she 
would wish nature had made her a boy instead of a girl, 
that she might ask Robert to let her be his clerk, and sit 
with him in the counting-house, instead of sitting with 
Hortense in the parlour. 

Occasionally but this happened very rarely she spent 
the evening at Hollow's cottage. Sometimes during these 
visits, Moore was away, attending a market ; sometimes 
he was gone to Mr. Yorke's , often he was engaged with a 
male visitor in another room ; but sometimes, too, he was 
at home, disengaged, free to talk with Caroline. When this 
was the case, the evening hours passed on wings of light ; 
they were gone before they were counted. There was no 
room in England so pleasant as that small parlour when the 
three cousins occupied it. Hortense, when she was not 
teaching, or scolding, or cooking, was far from ill-humoured ; 
it was her custom to relax towards evening, and to be kind 
to her young English kinswoman. There was a means, too, 
of rendering her delightful, by inducing her to take her 
guitar and sing and play; she then became quite good- 
natured ; and as she played with skill, and had a well-toned 
voice, it was not disagreeable to listen to her : it would have 
been absolutely agreeable, except that her formal and self- 
important character modulated her strains, as it impressed 
her manners and moulded her countenance. 

Mr. Moore, released from the business-yoke, was, if not 
lively himself, a willing spectator of Caroline's liveliness, a 
complacent listener to her talk, a ready respondent to her 
questions. He was something agreeable to sit near, to 
hover round, to address and look at. Sometimes he was 
better than this, almost animated, quite gentle and 

The drawback was, that by the next morning he was 
sure to be frozen up again ; and however much he seemed, 
in his quiet way, to enjoy these social evenings, he rarely 
contrived their recurrence. This circumstance puzzled the 
inexperienced head of his cousin. ' If I had a means of 


happiness at my command,' she thought, ' 1 would employ 
that means often ; I would keep it bright with use, and not 
let it lie for weeks aside, till it gets rusty. 1 

Yet she was careful not to put in practice her own theory. 
Much as she liked an evening visit to the cottage, she never 
paid one unasked. Often, indeed, when pressed by Hortense 
to come, she would refuse, because Eobert did not second, or 
but slightly seconded the request. This morning was the 
first time he had ever, of his own unprompted will, given 
her an invitation ; and then he had spoken so kindly, that 
in hearing him she had received a sense of happiness 
sufficient to keep her glad for the whole day. 

The morning passed as usual. Mademoiselle, ever 
breathlessly busy, spent it in bustling from kitchen to 
parlour now scolding Sarah, now looking over Caroline's 
exercise or hearing her repetition-lesson. However fault- 
lessly these tasks were achieved, Mademoiselle never com- 
mended : it was a maxim with her that praise is inconsistent 
with a teacher's dignity, and that blame, in more or less 
unqualified measure, is indispensable to it. She thought 
incessant reprimand, severe or slight, quite necessary to the 
maintenance of her authority ; and if no possible error was 
to be found in the lesson, it was the pupil's carriage, or air, 
or dress, or mien, which required correction. 

The usual affray took place about the dinner, which meal, 
when Sarah at last brought it into the room, she almost flung 
upon the table, with a look that expressed quite plainly ' I 
never dished such stuff i' my life afore ; it's not fit for dogs.' 
Notwithstanding Sarah's scorn, it was a savoury repast 
enough. The soup was a sort of puree of dried peas, which 
Mademoiselle had prepared amidst bitter lamentations that 
in this desolate country of England no haricot beans were to 
be had. Then came a dish of meat nature unknown, but 
supposed to be miscellaneous singularly chopped up with 
crumbs of bread, seasoned uniquely though not unpleasantly, 
and baked in a mould ; a queer, but by no moans unpala- 
table dish. Greens, oddly bruised, formed the accompanying 


vegetable ; and a pate of fruit, conserved after a receipt 
devised by Madame Gerard Moore's ' grand'mere,' and from 
the taste of which it appeared probable that ' melasse ' had 
been substituted for sugar, completed the dinner. 

Caroline had no objection to this Belgian cookery : 
indeed, she rather liked it for a change, and it was well she 
did so, for had she evinced any disrelish thereof, such 
manifestation would have injured her in Mademoiselle's 
good graces for ever ; a positive crime might have been 
more easily pardoned than a symptom of distaste for the 
foreign comestibles. 

Soon after dinner Caroline coaxed her governess-cousin 
up-stairs to dress : this manoeuvre required management. 
To have hinted that the jupon, camisole, and curl-papers 
were odious objects, or indeed other than quite meritorious 
points, would have been a felony. Any premature attempt 
to urge their disappearance was therefore unwise, and would 
be likely to issue in the persevering wear of them during the 
whole day. Carefully avoiding rocks and quicksands, how- 
ever, the pupil, on pretence of requiring a change of scene, 
contrived to get the teacher aloft, and, once in the bed-room, 
she persuaded her that it was not worth while returning 
thither, and that she might as well make her toilette now ; 
and while Mademoiselle delivered a solemn homily on her 
own surpassing merit in disregarding all frivolities of 
fashion, Caroline denuded her of the camisole, invested her 
with a decent gown, arranged her collar, hair, &c., and 
made her quite presentable. But Hortense would put the 
finishing touches herself, and these finishing touches con- 
sisted in a thick handkerchief tied round the throat, and a 
large, servant-like black apron, which spoiled everything. 
On no account would Mademoiselle have appeared in her 
own house without the thick handkerchief and the volu- 
minous apron : the first was a positive matter of morality 
it was quite improper not to wear a fichu ; the second was 
the ensign of a good housewife she appeared to think that 
by means of it she somehow effected a large saving in her 


brother's income. She had, with her own hands, made and 
presented to Caroline similar equipments ; and the only 
serious quarrel they had ever had, and which still left a 
soreness in the elder cousin's soul, had arisen from the 
refusal of the younger one to accept of and profit by these 
elegant presents. 

' I wear a high dress and a collar,' said Caroline, ' and I 
should feel suffocated with a handkerchief in addition ; and 
my short aprons do quite as well as that very long one : I 
would rather make no change.' 

Yet Hortense, by dint of perseverance, would probably 
have compelled her to make a change, had not Mr. Moore 
chanced to overhear a dispute on the subject, and decided 
that Caroline's little aprons would suffice, and that, in his 
opinion, as she was still but a child, she might for the 
present dispense with the fichu, especially as her curls were 
long, and almost touched her shoulders. 

There was no appeal against Robert's opinion, therefore 
his sister was compelled to yield ; but she disapproved 
entirely of the piquant neatness of Caroline's costume, and 
the ladylike grace of her appearance : something more solid 
and homely, she would have considered ' beaucoup plus 

The afternoon was devoted to sewing. Mademoiselle, 
like most Belgian ladies, was specially skilful with her 
needle. She by no means thought it waste of time to devote 
unnumbered hours to fine embroidery, sight-destroying lace- 
work, marvellous netting and knitting, and, above all, to 
most elaborate stocking-mending. She would give a day to 
the mending of two holes in a stocking any time, and think 
her ' mission ' nobly fulfilled when she had accomplished it. 
It was another of Caroline's troubles to be condemned to 
learn this foreign style of darning, which was done stitch by 
stitch, so as exactly to imitate the fabric of the stocking 
itself ; a wearifu* process, but considered by Hortense 
Gerard, and by her ancestresses before her for long genera- 
tions back, as one of the first ' duties of woman.' She her- 


self had had a needle, cotton, and a fearfully torn stocking 
put into her hand while she yet wore a child's coif on her 
little black head : her ' hauts faits ' in the darning line had 
been exhibited to company ere she was six years old, and 
when she first discovered that Caroline was profoundly 
ignorant of this most essential of attainments, she could 
have wept with pity over her miserably neglected youth. 

No time did she lose in seeking up a hopeless pair of hose, 
of which the heels were entirely gone, and in setting the 
ignorant English girl to repair the deficiency : this task had 
been commenced two years ago, and Caroline had the stock- 
ings in her work-bag yet. She did a few rows every day, by 
way of penance for the expiation of her sins : they were a 
grievous burden to her ; she would much have liked to put 
them in the fire ; and once Mr. Moore, who had observed 
her sitting and sighing over them, had proposed a private 
incremation in the counting-house, but to this proposal 
Caroline knew it would have been impolitic to accede the 
result could only be a fresh pair of hose, probably in worse 
condition : she adhered, therefore, to the ills she knew. 

All the afternoon the two ladies sat and sewed, till the 
eyes and fingers, and even the spirits of one of them were 
weary. The sky since dinner had darkened ; it had begun 
to rain again, to pour fast; secret fears began to steal on 
Caroline that Eobert would be persuaded by Mr. Sykes or 
Mr. Yorke to remain at Whinbury till it cleared, and of that 
there appeared no present chance. Five o'clock struck, and 
time stole on ; still the clouds streamed : a sighing wind 
whispered in the roof-trees of the cottage ; day seemed 
already closing ; the parlour-fire shed on the clear hearth a 
glow ruddy as at twilight. 

1 It will not be fair till the moon rises,' pronounced 
Mademoiselle Moore ; ' consequently, I feel assured that my 
brother will not return till then : indeed, I should be sorry 
if he did. We will have coffee : it would be vain to wait for 

' I am tired may I leave my work now, cousin ? ' 


' You may, since it grows too dark to see to do it well. 
Fold it up ; put it carefully in your bag ; then step into the 
kitchen, and desire Sarah to bring in the gouter, or tea, as 
you call it.' 

' But it has not yet struck six : he may still come.' 

' He will not, I tell you. I can calculate his movements. 
I understand my brother.' 

Suspense is irksome, disappointment bitter. All the 
world has, some time or other, felt that. Caroline, obedient 
to orders, passed into the kitchen. Sarah was making a 
dress for herself at the table. 

' You are to bring in coffee,' said the young lady, in a 
spiritless tone ; and then she leaned her arm and head 
against the kitchen mantelpiece, and hung listlessly over the 

' How low you seem, miss ! But it's all because your 
cousin keeps you so close to work. It's a shame ! ' 

' Nothing of the kind, Sarah,' was the brief reply. 

' Oh ! but I know it is. You're fit to cry just this 
minute, for nothing else but because you've sat still the 
whole day. It would make a kitten dull to be mewed up so.' 

' Sarah, does your master often come home early from 
market when it is wet ? ' 

' Never, hardly ; but just to-day, for some reason, he has 
made a difference.' 

' What do you mean ? ' 

' He is come : I am certain I saw Murgatroyd lead his 
horse into the yard by the back-way, when I went to get 
some water at the pump five minutes since. He was in the 
counting-house with Joe Scott, I believe.' 

' You are mistaken.' 

' What should I be mistaken for ? I know his horse 
surely ? ' 

' But you did not see himself ? ' 

' I heard him speak, though. He was saying something 
to Joe Scott about having settled all concerning ways and 
means, and that there would be a new set of frames in the 


mill before another week passed ; and that this time ho 
would get four soldiers from Stilbro' barracks to guard the 

1 Sarah, are you making a gown ? ' 

' Yes : is it a handsome one ? ' 

' Beautiful ! Get the coffee ready. I'll finish cutting 
out that sleeve for you ; and I'll give you some trimming 
for it. I have some narrow satin ribbon of a colour that 
will just match.' 

1 You're very kind, miss.' 

' Be quick, there's a good girl ; but first put your master's 
shoes on the hearth : he will take his boots off when he 
comes in. I hear him he is coming.' 

' Miss ! you're cutting the stuff wrong.' 

' So I am ; but it is only a snip : there is no harm done.' 

The kitchen-door opened ; Mr. Moore entered, very wet 
and cold. Caroline half-turned from her dressmaking occu- 
pation, but renewed it for a moment, as if to gain a minute's 
time for some pui'pose. Bent over the di'ess, her face was 
hidden ; there was an attempt to settle her features and veil 
their expression, which failed : when she at last met Mr. 
Moore, her countenance beamed. 

' We had ceased to expect you : they asserted you would 
not come,' she said. 

' But I promised to return soon : you expected me, I 
suppose ? ' 

' No, Kobert : I dared not when it rained so fast. And 
you are wet and chilled change everything : if you took 
cold, I should we should blame ourselves in some measure.' 

' I am not wet through : my riding-coat is water-proof. 
Dry shoes are all I require. There .... the fire is pleasant 
after facing the cold wind and rain for a few miles.' 

He stood on the kitchen-hearth ; Caroline stood beside 
him. Mr. Moore, while enjoying the genial glow, kept his 
eyes directed towards the glittering brasses on the shelf 
above. Chancing for an instant to look down, his glance 
rested on an uplifted face, flushed, smiling, happy, shaded 


with silky curls, lit with fine eyes. Sarah was gone into the 
parlour with the tray : a lecture from her mistress detained 
her there. Moore placed his hand a moment on his young 
cousin's shoulder, stooped, and left a kiss on her forehead. 

' Oh ! ' said she, as if the action had unsealed her lips, 
1 1 was miserable when I thought you would not come : I 
am almost too happy now ! Are you happy, Robert ? Do 
you like to come home ? ' 

' I think I do ; to-night, at least.' 

' Are you certain you are not fretting about your frames, 
and your business, and the war ? ' 

' Not just now.' 

' Are you positive you don't feel Hollow's cottage too 
small for you, and narrow and dismal ? ' 

' At this moment, no.' 

' Can you affirm that you are not bitter at heart because 
rich and great people forget you ? ' 

' No more questions. You are mistaken if you think I 
am anxious to curry favour with rich and great people. I 
only want means a position a career.' 

' Which your own talent and goodness shall win you. 
You were made to be great you shall be great.' 

' I wonder now, if you spoke honestly out of your heart, 
what receipt you would give me for acquiring this same 
greatness ; but I know it better than you know it yourself. 
Would it be efficacious ? would it work ? Yes poverty, 
misery, bankruptcy. Oh ! life is not what you think it, 
Lina ! ' 

' But you are what I think you.' 

1 1 am not.' 

1 You are better, then ? ' 

' Far worse.' 

1 No ; far better. I know you are good.' 

1 How do you know it ? ' 

' You look so ; and I feel you are so.' 

1 Where do you feel it ? ' 

' In iny heart.' 


1 Ah ! you judge me with your heart, Lina : you should 
judge me with your head.' 

' I do ; and then I am quite proud of you. Kobert, you 
cannot tell all my thoughts about you.' 

Mr. Moore's dark face mustered colour ; his lips smiled, 
and yet were compressed ; his eyes laughed, and yet he 
resolutely knit his brow. 

' Think meanly of me, Lina,' said he. ' Men, in general, 
are a sort of scum, very different to anything of which you 
have an idea ; I make no pretension to be better than my 

' If you did, I should not esteem you so much ; it is 
because you are modest that I have such confidence in your 

' Are you flattering me ? ' he demanded, turning sharply 
upon her, and searching her face with an eye of acute pene- 

' No,' she said, softly, laughing at his sudden quickness. 
She seemed to think it unnecessary to proffer any eager 
disavowal of the charge. 

' You don't care whether I think you flatter me or 


' You are so secure of your own intentions ? ' 

' I suppose so.' 

1 What are they, Caroline ? ' 

' Only to ease my mind by expressing for once part of 
what I think ; and then to make you better satisfied with 

'By assuring me that my kinswoman is my sincere 

' Just so ; I am your sincere friend, Robert." 

1 And I am what chance and change shall make me, 

' Not my enemy, however? ' 

The answer was cut short by Sarah and her mistress 
entering the kitchen together in some commotion. They 


had been improving the time which Mr. Moore and Miss 
Helstone had spent in dialogue by a short dispute on the 
subject of ' caf6 au lait,' which Sarah said was the queerest 
mess she ever saw, and a waste of God's good gifts, as it was 
1 the nature of coffee to be boiled in water ; ' and which 
Mademoiselle affirmed to be ' un breuvage royal,' a thousand 
times too good for the mean person who objected to it. 

The former occupants of the kitchen now withdrew into 
the parlour. Before Hortense followed them thither, 
Caroline had only time again to question, ' Not my enemy, 
Robert ? ' And Moore, quaker-like, had replied with another 
query, ' Could I be ? ' and then, seating himself at the table, 
had settled Caroline at his side. 

Caroline scarcely heard Mademoiselle's explosion of 
wrath when she rejoined them ; the long declamation about 
the ' conduite indigne de cette m6chante creature," sounded 
in her ear as confusedly as the agitated rattling of the china. 
Eobert laughed a little at it, in very subdued sort, and then, 
politely and calmly entreating his sister to be tranquil, 
assured her that if it would yield her any satisfaction, she 
should have her choice of an attendant amongst all the girls 
in his mill ; only he feared they would scarcely suit her, as 
they were most of them, he was informed, completely 
ignorant of household work : and pert and self-willed as 
Sarah was, she was, perhaps, no worse than the majority of 
the women of her class. 

Mademoiselle admitted the truth of this conjecture : 
according to her, ' ces paysannes Anglaises 6taient tout in- 
supportables.' What would she not give for some ' bonne 
cuisinere Anversoise,' with the high cap, short petticoat, 
and decent sabots proper to her class : something better, 
indeed, than an insolent coquette in a flounced gown, and 
absolutely without cap ! (for Sarah, it appears, did not par- 
take the opinion of St. Paul, that ' it is a shame for a woman 
to go with her head uncovered ; ' but, holding rather a 
contrary doctrine, resolutely refused to imprison in linen or 
mublin the plentiful of her yellow hair, which it was 


her wont to fasten up smartly with a comb behind, and on 
Sundays to wear curled in front). 

' Shall I try and get you an Antwerp girl ? ' asked Mr. 
Moore, who stern in public was on the whole very kind 
in private. 

' Merci du cadeau ! ' was the answer. ' An Antwerp girl 
would not stay here ten days, sneered at as she would be by 
all the young coquines in your factory ; ' then softening, 
' You are very good, dear brother excuse my petulance 
but, truly my domestic trials are severe, yet they are pro- 
bably my destiny ; for I recollect that our revered mother 
experienced similar sufferings, though she had the choice of 
all the best servants in Antwerp ; domestics are in all countries 
a spoiled and unruly set.' 

Mr. Moore had also certain reminiscences about the 
trials of his revered mother. A good mother she had been 
to him, and he honoured her memory, but he recollected 
that she kept a hot kitchen of it in Antwerp, just as his 
faithful sister did here in England. Thus, therefore, 
he let the subject drop, and when the coffee service was 
removed, proceeded to console Hortense by fetching her 
music-book and guitar ; and having arranged the ribbon of 
the instrument round her neck with a quiet fraternal kindness 
he knew to be all-powerful in soothing her most ruffled 
moods, he asked her to give him some of their mother's 
favourite songs. 

Nothing refines like affection. Family jarring vulgarizes 
family union elevates. Hortense, pleased with her brother, 
and grateful to him, looked, as she touched her guitar, almost 
graceful, almost handsome ; her every-day fretful look waa 
gone for a moment, and was replaced by a ' sourire plein de 
bonteV She sang the songs he asked for, with feeling ; they 
reminded her of a parent to whom she had been truly 
attached ; they reminded her of her young days. She 
observed, too, that Caroline listened with naive interest ; 
this augmented her good-humour ; and the exclamation at 
the close of the song, ' I wish I could sing and play like 


Hortense ! ' achieved the business, and rendered her charm- 
ing for the evening. 

It is true, a little lecture to Caroline followed, on the 
vanity of wishing and the duty of trying. ' As Rome,' it 
was suggested, ' had not been built in a day, so neither had 
Mademoiselle G6rard Moore's education been completed in a 
week, or by merely wishing to be clever. It was effort that 
had accomplished that great work : she was ever remarkable 
for her perseverance, for her industry; her masters had 
remarked that it was as delightful as it was uncommon to 
find so much talent united with so much solidity, and so 
on.' Once on the theme of her own merits, Mademoiselle 
was fluent. 

Cradled at last in blissful self-complacency, she took her 
knitting, and sat down tranquil. Drawn curtains, a clear 
fire, a softly shining lamp, gave now to the little parlour its 
best its evening charm. It is probable that the three there 
present felt this charm : they all looked happy. 

' What shall we do now, Caroline ? ' asked Mr. Moore, 
returning to his seat beside his cousin. 

' What shall we do, Robert ? ' repeated she playfully. 
' You decide.' 

' Not play at chess ? ' 


1 Nor draughts, nor backgammon ? ' 

' No no ; we both hate silent games that only keep one's 
hands employed, don't we ? ' 

' I believe we do ; then, shall we talk scandal ? ' 

' About whom ? Are we sufficiently interested in any- 
body to take a pleasure in pulling their character to pieces ? ' 

' A question that cornos to the point. For my part 
unamiable as it sounds I must say, no.' 

' And I, too. But it is strange though we want no 
third fourth, I mean (she hastily and with contrition 
glanced at Hortense), living person among us so selfish 
we are in our happiness though we don't want to think of 
the present existing world, it would be pleasant to go back 


to the past ; to hear people that have slept for generations 
in graves that are perhaps no longer graves now, but gardens 
and fields, speak to us and tell us their thoughts, and impart 
their ideas.' 

' Who shall be the speaker ? What language shall he 
utter? French?' 

' Your French forefathers don't speak so sweetly, nor so 
solemnly, nor so impressively as your English ancestors, 
Eobert. To-night you shall be entirely English : you shall 
read an English book.' 

' An old English book ? ' 

1 Yes, an old English book, one that you like ; and I will 
choose a part of it that is toned quite in harmony with some- 
thing in you. It shall waken your nature, fill your mind 
with music ; it shall pass like a skilful hand over your heart, 
and make its strings sound. Your heart is a lyre, Eobert ; 
but the lot of your life has not been a minstrel to sweep it, 
and it is often silent. Let glorious William come near and 
touch it : you will see how he will draw the English power 
and melody out of its chords.' 

' I must read Shakspeare ? ' 

' You must have his spirit before you : you must ear his 
voice with your mind's ear ; you must take some of his soul 
into yours.' 

' With a view to making me better ; is it to operate like a 
sermon ? ' 

' It is to stir you ; to give you new sensations. It is to 
make you feel your life strongly, not only your virtues, but 
your vicious, perverse points.' 

' Dieu ! que dit-elle ? ' cried Hortense, who hitherto had 
been counting stitches in her knitting, and had not much 
attended to what was said, but whose ear these two strong 
woi'ds caught with a tweak. 

' Never mind her, sister : let her talk ; now just let her 
say anything she pleases to-night. She likes to come down 
hard upon your brother sometimes ; it amuses me, so let her 


Caroline, who, mounted on a chair, had been rummaging 
the book-case, returned with a book. 

1 Here's Shakspeare,' she said, ' and there's Coriolanus. 
Now read, and discover by the feelings the reading will give 
you at once how low and how high you are.' 

' Come then, sit near me, and correct when I mispro- 

' I am to be the teacher then, and you my pupil ? ' 

' Ainsi soit-il ! ' 

' And Shakspeare is our science, since we are going to 
study ? ' 

' It appears so.' 

1 And you are not going to be French, and sceptical, and 
sneering ? You are not going to think it a sign of wisdom to 
refuse to admire ? ' 

' I don't know.' 

1 If you do, Eobert, I'll take Shakspeare away ; and I'll 
shrivel up within myself, and put on my bonnet and go 

1 Sit down ; here I begin.' 

' One minute, if you please, brother,' interrupted Made- 
moiselle : ' when the gentleman of a family reads, the ladies 
should always sow. Caroline, dear child, take your embroidery ; 
you may get three sprigs done to-night.' 

Caroline looked dismayed. ' I can't see by lamp-light ; 
my eyes are tired, and I can't do two things well at once. 
If I sew, I cannot listen ; if I listen, I cannot sew.' 

1 Fi, done ! Quel enfantillage ! ' began Hortense. Mr. 
Moore, as usual, suavely interposed. 

' Permit her to neglect the embroidery for this evening. 
I wish her whole attention to be fixed on my accent, and to 
ensure this, she must follow the reading with her eyes ; she 
must look at the book.' 

He placed it between them, reposed his arm on the back 
of Caroline's chair, and thus began to read. 

The very first scene in ' Coriolanus ' came with smart 
relish to his intellectual palate, and still as he read he 


warmed. He delivered the haughty speech of Caius Marcius 
to the starving citizens with unction ; he did not say he 
thought his irrational pride right, but he seemed to feel it so. 
Caroline looked up at him with a singular smile. 

' There's a vicious point hit already, 1 she said ; ' you 
sympathize with that proud patrician who does not sym- 
pathize with his famished fellow-men, and insults them : 
there, go on.' He proceeded. The warlike portions did not 
rouse him much ; he said all that was out of date, or should 
be ; the spirit displayed was barbarous, yet the encounter 
single-handed between Marcius and Tullus Aufidius, he 
delighted in. As he advanced, he forgot to criticise ; it was 
evident he appreciated the power, the truth of each portion ; 
and, stepping out of the narrow line of private prejudices, 
began to revel in the large picture of human nature, to feel 
the reality stamped upon the characters who were speaking 
from that page before him. 

He did not read the comic scenes well, and Caroline, 
taking the book out of his hand, read these parts for him. 
From her he seemed to enjoy them, and indeed she gave 
them with a spirit no one could have expected of her, with a 
pithy expression with which she seemed gifted on the spot, and 
for that brief moment only. It may be remarked, in passing, 
that the general character of her conversation that evening, 
whether serious or sprightly, gi*ave or gay, was as of some- 
thing untaught, unstudied, intuitive, fitful ; when once gone, 
no more to be reproduced as it had been, than the glancing 
ray of the meteor, than the tints of the dew-gem, than the 
colour or form of the sun-set cloud, than the fleeting and 
glittering ripple varying the flow of a rivulet. 

Coriolanus in glory ; Coriolanus in disaster ; Coriolanus 
banished, followed like giant-shades one after the other. 
Before the vision of the banished man, Moore's spirit seemed 
to pause. He stood on the hearth of Aufidius's hall, facing 
the image of greatness fallen, but greater than ever in that 
low estate. He saw ' the grim appearance,' the dark face 
1 bearing command in it,' ' the noble vessel with its tackle 


torn.' With the revenge of Caius Marcius, Moore perfectly 
sympathized ; he was not scandalized by it ; and again 
Caroline whispered, ' There I see another glimpse of brother- 
hood in error.' 

The march on Rome, the mother's supplication, the long 
resistance, the final yielding of bad passions to good, which 
ever must be the case in a nature worthy the epithet of noble, 
the rage of Aufidius at what he considered his ally's weak- 
ness, the death of Coriolanus, the final sorrow of his great 
enemy ; all scenes made of condensed truth and strength, came 
on in succession, and earned with them in their deep, fast 
flow, the heart and mind of reader and listener. 

' Now, have you felt Shakspeare ? ' asked Caroline, some 
ten minutes after her cousin had closed the book. 
' I think so.' 

' And have you felt anything in Coriolanus like you ? ' 
' Perhaps I have.' 

1 Was he not faulty as well as great ? ' 
Moore nodded. 

' And what was his fault ? What made him hated by the 
citizens ? What caused him to be banished by his country- 

' What do you think it was ? ' 
' I ask again 

Whether 'twas pride, 
Which out of daily fortune ever taints 
The happy man ? whether defect of judgment, 
To fail in the disposing of those chances 
Which he was lord of ? or whether nature, 
Not to be other than one thing, not moving 
From the casque to the cushion, but commanding peace 
Even with the same austerity and garb 
As he controlled the war ? ' 

' Well, answer yourself, Sphinx.' 

' It was a spice of all : and you must not be proud to 
your workpeople ; you must not neglect chances of soothing 
them, and you must not be of an inflexible nature, uttering 
a request as austerely as if it were a command.' 


' That is the moral you tack to the play. What puts such 
notions into your head ? ' 

' A wish for your good, a care for your safety, dear Robert, 
and a fear caused by many things which I have heard lately, 
that you will come to harm.' 

1 Who tells you these things ? ' 

' I hear my uncle talk about you : he praises your hard 
spirit, your determined cast of mind, your scorn of low 
enemies, your resolution not " to truckle to the mob," as he 

' And would you have me truckle to them ? 

'No, not for the world : I never wish you to lower your- 
self ; but somehow, I cannot help thinking it unjust to include 
all poor working people under the general and insulting 
name of "the mob," and continually to think of them and 
treat them haughtily.' 

' You are a little democrat, Caroline : if your uncle knew, 
what would he say ? ' 

' I rarely talk to my uncle, as you know, and never 
about such things : he thinks everything but sewing and 
cooking above women's comprehension, and out of their 

' And do you fancy you comprehend the subjects on 
which you advise me ? ' 

' As far as they concern you, I comprehend them. I know 
it would be better for you to be loved by your workpeople than 
to be hated by them, and I am sure that kindness is more likely 
to win their regard than pride. If you were proud and cold 
to me and Hortensc, should we love you ? When you are 
cold to me, as you are sometimes, can I venture to be affec 
tionate in return ? ' 

' Now, Lina, I've had my lesson both in languages and 
ethics, with a touch on politics ; it is your turn. Hortense 
tells me you were much taken by a little piece of poetry you 
learned the, other day, a piece by poor Andre" Che'nier " La 
Jeune Captive ; " do you remember it still? ' 

' I think so.' 


' Eepeat it, then. Take your time and mind your accent ; 
especially let's have no English u's.' 

Caroline, beginning in a low, rather tremulous voice, but 
gaining courage as she proceeded, repeated the sweet verses 
of Ch6nier ; the last three stanzas she rehearsed well : 

Mon beau voyage encore est si loin de sa fin 1 
Je pars, et des ormeaux qui bordent le chemin 

J'ai passe les premiers & peine. 
Au banquet de la vie a peine commence^ 
Un instant seulement mes levres ont press6 

La coupe en mes mains encor pleine. 

Je ne suis qu'au printemps je veux voir la moisson ; 
Et comme le soleil, de saison en saison, 

Je veux achever mon annee. 
Brillante sur ma tige et 1'honneur du jardin, 
Je n'ai vu luire encor que les feux du matin 

Je veux achever ma journ6e 1 

Moore listened at first with his eyes cast down, but soon 
he furtively raised them : leaning back in his chair, he could 
watch Caroline without her perceiving where his gaze was 
fixed. Her cheek had a colour, her eyes a light, her counten- 
ance an expression, this evening, which would have made even 
plain features striking ; but there was not the grievous defect 
of plainness to pardon in her case. The sunshine was not 
shed on rough barrenness ; it fell on soft bloom. Each linea- 
ment was turned with grace ; the whole aspect was pleasing. 
At the present moment animated, interested, touched she 
might be called beautiful. Such a face was calculated to 
awaken not only the calm sentiment of esteem, the distant 
one of admiration ; but some feeling more tender, genial, 
intimate : friendship, perhaps affection, interest. When 
she had finished, she turned to Moore and met his eye. 

' Is that pretty well repeated ? ' she inquired, smiling like 
any happy, docile child. 

' I really don't know.' 

' Why don't you know ? Have you not listened ? ' 


' Yes and looked. You are fond of poetry, Lina ? ' 

' When I meet with real poetry, I cannot rest till I have 
learned it by heart, and so made it partly mine.' 

Mr. Moore now sat silent for several minutes. It struck 
nine o'clock : Sarah entered, and said that Mr. Helstone's 
servant was come for Miss Caroline. 

' Then the evening is gone already,' she observed ; ' and 
it will be long, I suppose, before I pass another here.' 

Hortense had been for some time nodding over her 
knitting ; falling into a doze now, she made no response to 
the remark. 

' You would have no objection to come here oftener of an 
evening ? ' inquired Robert, as he took her folded mantle from 
the side-table, whei*e it still lay, and carefully wrapped it 
round her. 

' I like to come here : but I have no desire to be intrusive. 
I am not hinting to be asked : you must understand that.' 

' Oh ! I understand thee, child. You sometimes lecture 
me for wishing to be rich, Lina ; but if I were rich, you 
should live here always : at any rate, you should live with 
me wherever my habitation might be.' 

1 That would be pleasant ; and if you were poor ever so 
poor it would still be pleasant. Good-night, Robert.' 

' I promised to walk with you up to the Rectory.' 

' I know you did ; but I thought you had forgotten, and 
I hardly knew how to remind you, though I wished to do it. 
But would you like to go ? It is a cold night ; and, as Fanny 
is come, there is no necessity ' 

' Here is your muff don't wake Hortense come.' 

The half-mile to the Rectory was soon traversed. They 
parted in the garden without kiss, scarcely with a pressure 
of hands : yet Robert sent his cousin in excited and joyously 
troubled. He had been singularly kind to her that day : not 
in phrase, compliment, profession ; but in manner, in look, 
and in soft and friendly tones. 

For himself he came home grave, almost morose. As he 
stood leaning on his own yard-gate, musing in the watery 


moonlight, all alone the hushed, dark mill before him, the 
hill-environed hollow round he exclaimed, abruptly : ' This 
won't do ! There's weakness there's downright ruin in all 
this. However,' he added, dropping his voice, ' the frenzy 
is quite temporary. I know it very well : I have had it 
before. It will be gone to-morrow.' 



CAROLINE HELSTONE was just eighteen years old ; and at 
eighteen the true narrative of life is yet to be commenced. 
Before that time we sit listening to a tale, a marvellous 
fiction ; delightful sometimes, and sad sometimes ; almost 
always unreal. Before that time, our world is heroic ; its 
inhabitants half-divine or semi-demon ; its scenes are dream 
scenes : darker woods and stranger hills ; brighter skies, 
more dangerous waters ; sweeter flowers, more tempting 
fruits ; wider plains, drearier deserts, sunnier fields than are 
found in nature, overspread our enchanted globe. What a 
moon we gaze on before that time ! How the trembling of 
our hearts at her aspect bears witness to its unutterable 
beauty ! As to our sun, it is a burning heaven the world 
of gods. 

At that time at eighteen, drawing near the confines of 
illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies behind us, the shores of 
Reality rise in front. These shores are yet distant : they 
look so blue, soft, gentle, we long to reach them. In sun- 
shine we see a greenness beneath the azure, as of spring 
meadows ; we catch glimpses of silver lines, and imagine 
the roll of living waters. Could we but reach this land, we 
think to hunger and thirst no more ; whereas many a 
wilderness, and often the flood of Death, or some stream of 
sorrow as cold and almost as black as Death, is to be crossed 
ere true bliss can be tasted. Every joy that life gives must 
be earned ere it is secured ; and how hardly earned, those 


only know who have wrestled for great prizes. The heart's 
blood must gem with red beads the brow of the combatant, 
before the wreath of victory rustles over it. 

At eighteen, we are not aware of this. Hope, when she 
smiles on us, and promises happiness to-morrow, is implicitly 
believed ; Love, when he comes wandering like a lost angel 
to our door, is at once admitted, welcomed, embraced : his 
quiver is not seen ; if his arrows penetrate, their wound is 
like a thrill of new life : there are no fears of poison, none 
of the barb which no leech's hand can extract : that perilous 
passion an agony ever in some of its phases ; with many, 
an agony throughout is believed to be an unqualified good : 
in short, at eighteen, the school of Experience is to be 
entered, and her humbling, crushing, grinding, but yet 
purifying and invigorating lessons are yet to be learnt. 

Alas, Experience ! No other mentor has so wasted and 
frozen a face as yours : none wears a robe so black, none 
bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws 
the novice so sternly to his task, and forces him with 
authority so resistless to its acquirement. It is by your 
instructions alone that man or woman can ever find a safe 
track through life's wilds : without it, how they stumble, 
how they stray ! On what forbidden grounds do they 
intrude, down what dread declivities are they hurled ! 

Caroline, having been convoyed home by Robert, had no 
wish to pass what remained of the evening with her uncle : 
the room in which he sat was very sacred ground to her ; 
she seldom intruded on it, and to-night she kept aloof till 
the bell rang for prayers. Part of the evening church 
service was the form of worship observed in Mr. Helstone's 
household : he read it in his usual nasal voice, clear, loud, 
and monotonous. The rite over, his niece, according to her 
wont, stepped up to him. 

' Good-night, uncle.' 

' Hey ! You've been gadding abroad all day visiting, 
dining out, and what not ! ' 

' Only at the cottage.' 


' And have you learnt your lessons ? ' 


1 And made a shirt ? ' 

' Only part of one.' 

' Well, that will do : stick to the needle learn shirt- 
making and gown-making, and pie-crust-making, and you'll 
be a clever woman some day. Go to bed now ; I'm busy 
with a pamphlet here.' 

Presently the niece was enclosed in her small bed-room ; 
the door bolted, her white dressing-gown assumed, her 
long hair loosened and falling thick, soft, and wavy to her 
waist ; and as, resting from the task of combing it out, she 
leaned her cheek on her hand and fixed her eyes on the 
carpet, before her rose, and close around her drew, the 
visions we see at eighteen years. 

Her thoughts were speaking with her : speaking 
pleasantly, as it seemed, for she smiled as she listened. She 
looked pretty, meditating thus : but a brighter thing than 
she was in that apartment the spirit of youthful Hope. 
According to this flattering prophet, she was to know disap- 
pointment, to feel chill no more : she had entered on the 
dawn of a summer day no false dawn, but the true spring 
of morning and her sun would quickly rise. Impossible 
for her now to suspect that she was the sport of delusion : 
her expectations seemed warranted, the foundation on which 
they rested appeared solid. 

' When people love, the next step is they marry,' was 
her argument. ' Now, I love Robert, and I feel sure that 
Bobert loves me : I have thought so many a time before ; 
to-day I felt it. When I looked up at him after repeating 
Chenier's poem, his eyes (what handsome eyes he has !) sent 
the truth through my heart. Sometimes I am afraid to 
speak to him, lest I should be too frank, lest I should seem 
forward : for I have more than once regretted bitterly, 
overflowing, superfluous words, and feared I had said more 
than he expected me to say, and that he would disapprove 
what he might deem my indiscretion ; now, to-night, I could 


have ventured to express any thought, he was so indulgent. 
How kind he was, as we walked up the lane ! He does not 
flatter or say foolish things ; his love-making (friendship, I 
mean : of course I don't yet account him my lover, hut I 
hope he will be so some day) is not like what we read of in 
books it is far better original, quiet, manly, sincere. I do 
like him : I would be an excellent wife to him if he did 
marry me : I would tell him of his faults (for he has a few 
faults), but I would study his comfort, and cherish him, and 
do my best to make him happy. Now, I am sure he will 
not be cold to-morrow : I feel almost certain that to-morrow 
evening he will either come here, or ask me to go there.' 

She recommenced combing her hair, long as a mermaid's ; 
turning her head, as she arranged it, she saw her own facv 
and form in the glass. Such reflections are soberizing to 
plain people : their own eyes are not enchanted with the 
image ; they are confident then that the eyes of others can 
see in it no fascination ; but the fair must naturally draw 
other conclusions : the picture is charming, and must charm. 
Caroline saw a shape, a head that, daguerreotyped in that 
attitude and with that expression, would have been lovely : 
she could not choose but derive from the spectacle confirma- 
tion to her hopes : it was then in undiminished gladness she 
sought her couch. 

And in undiminished gladness she rose the next day : as 
she entered her uncle's breakfast-room, and with soft cheer- 
fulness wished him good morning, even that little man of 
bronze himself thought, for an instant, his niece was growing 
' a fine girl.' Generally she was quiet and timid with him : 
very docile, but not communicative ; this morning, however, 
she found many things to say. Slight topics alone might 
be discussed between them ; for with a woman a girl 
Mr. Helstone would touch on no other. She had taken an 
early walk in the garden, and she told him what flowers 
were beginning to spring there ; she inquired when the 
gardener was to come and trim the borders ; she informed 
him that certain starlings were beginning '.o build their 


nests in the church-tower (Briarfield church was close to 
Briarfield rectory) ; she wondered the tolling of the bells in 
the belfry did not scare them. 

Mr. Helstone opined that ' they were like other fools who 
had just paired ; insensible to inconvenience just for the 
moment.' Caroline, made perhaps a little too courageous 
by her temporary good spirits, here hazarded a i*emark of a 
kind she had never before ventured to make on observations 
dropped by her revered relative. 

' Uncle,' said she, ' whenever you speak of marriage, you 
speak of it scornfully : do you think people shouldn't 
marry ? ' 

1 It is decidedly the wisest plan to remain single, especially 
for women.' 

' Are all marriages unhappy ? ' 

1 Millions of marriages are unhappy : if everybody con- 
fessed the truth, perhaps all are more or less so.' 

' You are always vexed when you are asked to come and 
marry a couple why ? ' 

' Because one does not like to act as accessory to the 
commission of a piece of pure folly.' 

Mr. Helstone spoke so readily, he seemed rather glad of 
the opportunity to give his niece a piece of his mind on this 
point. Emboldened by the impunity which had hitherto 
attended her questions, she went a little further. 

' But why,' said she, ' should it be pure folly ? If two 
people like each other, why shouldn't they consent to live 
together ? ' 

' They tire of each other they tire of each other in a 
month. A yokefellow is not a companion ; he or she is a 

It was by no means nai've simplicity which inspired 
Caroline's next remark : it was a sense of antipathy to such 
opinions, and of displeasure at him who held them. 

' One would think you had never been married, uncle : 
one would think you were an old bachelor.' 

' Practically, I am so.' 


' But you have been married. Why were you so incon- 
sistent as to marry ? ' 

' Every man is mad once or twice in his life. 1 

1 So you tired of my aunt, and my aunt of you, and you 
were miserable together ? ' 

Mr. Helstone pushed out his cynical lip, wrinkled his 
brown forehead, and gave an inarticulate grunt. 

' Did she not suit you ? Was she not good-tempered ? 
Did you not get used to her ? Were you not sorry when she 
died ! ' 

4 Caroline,' said Mr. Helstone, bringing his hand slowly 
down to within an inch or two of the table, and then smiting 
it suddenly on the mahogany, ' understand this : it is vulgar 
and puerile to confound generals with particulars : in every 
case, there is the rule, and there are the exceptions. Your 
questions are stupid and babyish. Ring the bell, if you have 
done breakfast.' 

The breakfast was taken away, and that meal over, it was 
the general custom of uncle and niece to separate, and not 
to meet again till dinner ; but to-day the niece, instead of 
quitting the room, went to the window-seat, and sat down 
there. Mr. Helstone looked round uneasily once or twice, 
as if he wished her away, but she was gazing from the window, 
and did not seem to mind him ; so he continued the perusal 
of his morning paper a particularly interesting one it 
chanced to be, as new movements had just taken place in 
the Peninsula, and certain columns of the journal were rich 
in long despatches from General Lord Wellington. He little 
knew, meantime, what thoughts were busy in his niece's 
mind thoughts the conversation of the past half-hour had 
revived, but not generated ; tumultuous were they now, as 
disturbed bees in a hive, but it was years since they had first 
made their cells in her brain. 

She was reviewing his character, bis disposition, repeat- 
ing his sentiments on marriage. Many a time had she 
reviewed them before, and sounded the gulf between her own 
mind and his ; and then, on the other side of the wide and 


deep chasm, she had seen, and she now saw, another figure 
standing beside her uncle's a strange shape : dim, sinister, 
scarcely earthly ; the half-remembered image of her own 
father, James Helstone, Matthewson Helstone's brother. 

Eumours had reached her ear of what that father's 
character was ; old servants had dropped hints : she knew, 
too, that he was not a good man, and that he was never 
kind to her. She recollected a dark recollection it was 
some weeks that she had spent with him in a great town 
somewhere, when she had had no maid to dress her or take 
care of her ; when she had been shut up, day and night, in a 
high garret-room, without a carpet, with a bare uncurtained 
bed, and scarcely any other furniture ; when he went out 
early every morning, and often forgot to return and give her 
her dinner during the day, and at night, when he came back, 
was like a madman, furious, terrible ; or still more painful 
like an idiot, imbecile, senseless. She knew she had 
fallen ill in this place, and that one night when she was 
very sick, he had come raving into the room, and said he 
would kill her, for she was a burden to him ; her screams 
had brought aid, and from the moment she was then rescued 
from him she had never seen him, except as a dead man in 
his coffin. 

That was her father : also she had a mother ; though 
Mr. Helstone never spoke to her of that mother ; though 
she could not remember having seen her : but that she was 
alive she knew. This mother was then the drunkard's wife : 
what had their marriage been ? Caroline, turning from the 
lattice whence she had been watching the starlings (though 
without seeing them), in a low voice, and with a sad bitter 
tone, thus broke the silence of the room : ' You term 
marriage miserable, I suppose, from what you saw of my 
father and mother's. If my mother suffered what I suffered 
when I was with papa, she must have had a dreadful life.' 

Mr. Helstone, thus addressed, wheeled about in his chair, 
and looked over his spectacles at his niece : he was taken aback. 

Her father and mother ! What had put it into her head 


to mention her father and mother, of whom he had never, 
during the twelve years she had lived with him, spoken to her ? 
That the thoughts were self-matured ; that she had any recol- 
lections or speculations about her parents, he could not fancy. 

I Your father and mother ? Who has been talking to you 
about them ? ' 

' Nobody ; but I remember something of what papa was, 
and I pity mamma. Where is she ? ' 

This ' Where is she ? ' had been on Caroline's lips 
hundreds of times before ; but till now she had never 
uttered it. 

I 1 hardly know,' returned Mr. Helstone ; ' I was little 
acquainted with her. I have not heard from her for ^ jars : 
but wherever she is, she thinks nothing of you ; she never 
inquires about you ; I have reason to believe she does not 
wish to see you. Come, it is schooltime : you go to your 
cousin at ten, don't you ? The clock has struck.' 

Perhaps Caroline would have said more ; but Fanny 
coming in, informed her master that the churchwardens 
wanted to speak to him in the vestry. He hastened to join 
them, and his niece presently set out for the cottage. 

The road from the Rectory to Hollow's-mill inclined 
downwards ; she ran, therefore, almost all the way. Exercise, 
the fresh air, the thought of seeing Robert, at least of being on 
his premises, in his vicinage, revived her somewhat depressed 
spirits quickly. Arriving in sight of the white house, and 
within hearing of the thundering mill and its rushing water- 
course, the first thing she saw was Moore at his garden-gate. 
There he stood ; in his belted Holland blouse, a light cap 
covering his head, which undress costume suited him : he 
was looking down the lane, not in the direction of his cousin's 
approach. She stopped, withdrawing a little behind a willow, 
and studied his appearance. 

' He has not his peer,' she thought ; ' he is as handsome 
as he is intelligent. What a keen eye he has ! What clearly 
cut, spirited features thin and serious, but graceful ! 1 do like 
his face I do like his aspect I do like him so much ! Better 


than any of those shuffling curates, for instance better than 
anybody : bonnie Bobert ! ' 

She sought ' bonnie Eobert's ' presence speedily. For 
his part, when she challenged his sight, I believe he would 
have passed from before her eyes like a phantom, if he could ; 
but being a tall fact, and no fiction, he was obliged to stand 
the greeting. He made it brief : it was cousin-like, brother- 
like, friend-like, anything but lover-like. The nameless 
charm of last night had left his manner : he was no longer 
the same man ; or, at any rate, the same heart did not beat 
in his breast. Eude disappointment ! sharp cross ! At first 
the eager girl would not believe in the change, though she 
saw and felt it. It was difficult to withdraw her hand from 
his, till he had bestowed at least something like a kind 
pressure ; it was difficult to turn her eyes from his eyes, till 
his looks had expressed something more and fonder than 
that cool welcome. 

A lover masculine so disappointed can speak and urge 
explanation ; a lover feminine can say nothing ; if she did, 
the result would be shame and anguish, inward remorse for 
self-treachery. Nature would brand such demonstration as 
a rebellion against her instincts, and would vindictively 
repay it afterwards by the thunderbolt of self-contempt 
smiting suddenly in secret. Take the matter as you find it : 
ask no questions ; utter no remonstrances : it is your best 
wisdom. You expected bread, and you have got a stone ; 
break your teeth on it, and don't shriek because the nerves 
are martyrised : do not doubt that your mental stomach if 
you have such a thing is strong as an ostrich's the stone 
will digest. You held out your hand for an egg, and fate 
put into it a scorpion. Show no consternation : close your 
fingers firmly upon the gift ; let it sting through your palm. 
Never mind : in time, after your hand and arm have swelled 
and quivered long with torture, the squeezed scorpion will 
die, and you will have learned the great lesson how to 
endure without a sob. For the whole remnant of your life, 
if you survive the test some, it is said, die under it you 


will be stronger, wiser, less sensitive. This you are not aware 
of, perhaps, at the time, and so cannot borrow courage of 
that hope. Nature, however, as has been intimated, is an 
excellent friend in such cases ; sealing the lips, interdicting 
utterance, commanding a placid dissimulation : a dissimu- 
lation often wearing an easy and gay mien at first, settling 
down to sorrow and paleness in time, then passing away, 
and leaving a convenient stoicism, not the less fortifying 
because it is half-bitter. 

Half -bitter ! Is that wrong ? No it should be bitter : 
bitterness is strength it is a tonic. Sweet mild force 
following acute suffering, you find nowhere : to talk of it is 
delusion. There may be apathetic exhaustion after the rack ; 
if energy remains, it will be rather a dangerous ei^rgy 
deadly when confronted with injustice. 

Who has read the ballad of ' Puir Mary Lee ' ? that old 
Scotch ballad, written I k~ ow not in what generation nor 
by what hand. Mary had been ill used probably in being 
made to believe that truth which was falsehood : she is not 
complaining, but she is sitting alone in the snow-storm, and 
you hear her thoughts. They are not the thoughts of a 
model heroine under her circumstances, but they are those 
of a deeply-feeling, strongly-resentful peasant-girl. Anguish 
has driven her from the ingle-nook of home, to the white- 
shrouded and icy hills : crouched under the ' cauld drift,' she 
recalls every image of horror, ' the yellow-wymed ask,' 
' the hairy adder,' ' the auld moon-bowing tyke,' ' the ghaist 
at e'en,' ' the sour bullister,' ' the milk on the taed's back : ' 
she hates these, but ' waur she hates Robin -a-Ree ! ' 

Oh ! ance I lived happily by yon bonny burn 

The warld was in love wi' me ; 
But now I maun sit 'neath the cauld drift and mourn, 

And curse black Kobin-a-llee ! 

Then whudder awa' thou bitter biting blast, 

And sough through the scrunty tree, 
And snioor me up in the snaw fu' fast, 

And ne'er let the sun me see ! 


Oh, never melt awa' thou wreath o' anaw, 

That's sae kind in graving me ; 
But hide me frae the scorn and guffaw 

0' villains like Robin-a-Ree ! 

But what has been said in the last page or two is not 
germane to Caroline Helstone's feelings, or to the state of 
things between her and Robert Moore. Eobert had done 
her no wrong : he had told her no lie ; it was she that was 
to blame, if any one was : what bitterness her mind distilled 
should and would be poured on her own head. She had 
loved without being asked to love, a natural, sometimes an 
inevitable chance, but big with misery. 

Eobert, indeed, had sometimes seemed to be fond of her 
but why? Because she had made herself so pleasing to 
him, he could not, in spite of all his efforts, help testifying a 
state of feeling his judgment did not approve, nor his will 
sanction. He was about to withdraw decidedly from 
intimate communication with her, because he did not choose 
to have his affections inextricably entangled, nor to be 
drawn, despite his reason, into a marriage he believed 
imprudent. Now, what was she to do ? to give way to her 
feelings, or to vanquish them ? To pursue him, or to turn 
upon herself ? If she is weak, she will try the first ex- 
pedient, will lose his esteem and win his aversion : if she 
has sense, she will be her own governor, and resolve to 
subdue and bring under guidance the disturbed realm of her 
emotions. She will determine to look on life steadily, as it 
is ; to begin to learn its severe truths seriously, and to study 
its knotty problems closely, conscientiously. 

It appeared she had a little sense, for she quitted Robert 
quietly, without complaint or question without the alteration 
of a muscle or the shedding of a tear betook herself to her 
studies under Hortense as usual, and at dinner-time went 
home without lingering. 

When she had dined, and found herself in the Rectory 
drawing-room alone, having left her uncle over his tem- 
perate glass of port wine, the difficulty that occurred to 


and embarrassed her, was ' How am I to get through 
this day ? ' 

Last night she had hoped it would be spent as yesterday 
was, that the evening would be again passed with Happiness 
and Robert :' she had learned her mistake this morning, and 
yet she could not settle down, convinced that no chance 
would occur to recall her to Hollow's cottage, or to bring 
Moore again into her society. 

He had walked up after tea, more than once, to pass an 
hour with her uncle : the door-bell had rung, his voice had 
been heard in the passage just at twilight, when she little 
expected such a pleasure ; and this had happened twice after 
he had treated her with peculiar reserve ; and, though he 
rarely talked to her in her uncle's presence, he had looked 
at her relentingly, as he sat opposite her work-table during 
his stay : the few words he had spoken to her were com- 
forting ; his manner on bidding her good-night was genial. 
Now, he might come this evening, said False Hope : she 
almost knew it was False Hope which breathed the whisper, 
and yet she listened. 

She tried to read her thoughts wandered ; she tried to 
sew every stitch she put in was an ennui, the occupation 
was insufferably tedious ; she opened her desk, and attempted 
to write a French composition she wrote nothing but 

Suddenly the door-bell sharply rang her heart leaped 
she sprang to the drawing-room door, opened it softly, 
peeped through the aperture : Fanny was admitting a visitor 
a gentleman a tall man just the height of Robert for 
one second she thought it was Robert for one second she 
exulted ; but the voice asking for Mr. Helstone undeceived 
her : that voice was an Irish voice, consequently not Moore's 
but the curate's Malone's. He was ushered into the 
dining-room, where, doubtless, he speedily helped his Rector 
to empty the decanters. 

It was a fact to be noted, that at whatever house in 
Briarfield, \Yhinbury, or Nunnely, one curate dropped in to 


a meal dinner or tea, as the case might be another 
presently followed ; often two more. Not that they gave 
each other the rendezvous, but they were usually all on the 
run at the same time ; and when Donne, for instance, sought 
Malone at his lodgings and found him not, he inquired 
whither he had posted, and having learned of the landlady 
his destination, hastened with all speed after him ; the same 
causes operated in the same way with Sweeting. Thus it 
chanced on that afternoon that Caroline's ears were three 
times tortured with the ringing of the bell, and the advent 
of undesired guests : for Donne followed Malone, and 
Sweeting followed Donne ; and more wine was ordered up 
from the cellar into the dining-room (for though old Helstone 
chid the inferior priesthood when he found them 'carousing,' 
as he called it, in their own tents, yet at his hierarchical table 
he ever liked to treat them to a glass of his best), and through 
the closed doors Caroline heard their boyish laughter, and 
the vacant cackle of their voices. Her fear was lest they 
should stay to tea ; for she had no pleasure in making tea 
for that particular trio. What distinctions people draw ! 
These three were men young men educated men, like 
Moore : yet, for her, how great the difference ! Their society 
was a bore his a delight. 

Not only was she destined to be favoured w r ith their 
clerical company, but Fortune was at this moment bringing 
her four other guests lady-guests, all packed in a pony- 
phaeton now rolling somewhat heavily along the road from 
Whinbury : an elderly lady, and three of her buxom 
daughters, were coming to see her ' in a friendly way,' as 
the custom of that neighbourhood was. Yes, a fourth time 
the bell clanged : Fanny brought the present announcement 
to the drawing-room' Mrs. Sykes and the three Misses 

When Caroline was going to receive company, her habit 
was to wring her hands very nervously, to flush a little, and 
come forward hurriedly yet hesitatingly, wishing herself 
meantime at Jericho. She was, at such crises, sadly 


deficient in finished manner, though she had once been at 
school a year. Accordingly, on this occasion, her small 
white hands sadly maltreated each other, while she stood up, 
waiting the entrance of Mrs. Sykes. 

In stalked that lady, a tall bilious gentlewoman, who 
made an ample and not altogether insincere profession of 
piety, and was greatly given to hospitality towards the 
clergy ; in sailed her three daughters, a showy trio, being all 
three well grown, and more or less handsome. 

In English country ladies there is this point to be 
remarked. Whether young or old, pretty or plain, dull or 
sprightly, they all (or almost all) have a certain expression 
stamped on their features, w r hich seems to say, ' I know I 
do not boast of it but I know that I am the standard of 
what is proper ; let every one therefore whom I approach, 
or who approaches me, keep a sharp look-out, for wherein 
they differ from me be the same in dress, manner, opinion, 
principle, or practice therein they are wrong.' 

Mrs. and Misses Sykes, far from being exceptions to this 
observation, were pointed illustrations of its truth. Miss 
Mary a well-looked, well-meant, and, on the whole, well- 
dispositioned girl wore her complacency with some state, 
though without harshness ; Miss Harriet a beauty carried 
it more overbearingly : she looked high and cold ; Miss 
Hannah, who was conceited, dashing, pushing, flourished 
hers consciously and openly ; the mother evinced it with the 
gravity proper to her age and religious fame. 

The reception was got through somehow. Caroline 'was 
glad to see them ' (an unmitigated fib), hoped they were 
well, hoped Mrs. Sykes's cough was better (Mrs. Sykes bad 
had a cough for the last twenty years), hoped the Misses 
Sykes had left their sisters at home well; to which inquiry, 
the Misses Sykes, sitting on three chairs opposite the music- 
stool, whereon Caroline had undesignedly come to anchor, 
after wavering for some seconds between it and a large arm- 
chair, into which she at length recollected she ought to 
induct Mrs. Sykes : and indeed that lady saved her the 


trouble by depositing herself therein ; the Misses Sykes 
replied to Caroline by one simultaneous bow, very majestic 
and mighty awful. A pause followed : this bow was of a 
character to ensure silence for the next five minutes, and it 
did. Mrs. Sykes then inquired after Mr. Helstone, and 
whether he had had any return of rheumatism, and whether 
preaching twice on a Sunday fatigued him, and if he was 
capable of taking a full service now ; and on being assured 
he was, she and all her daughters, combining in chorus, 
expressed their opinion that he was ' a wonderful man of his 

Pause second. 

Miss Mary, getting up the steam in her turn, asked 
whether Caroline had attended the Bible Society meeting 
which had been held at Nunnely last Thursday night : the 
negative answer which truth compelled Caroline to utter 
for last Thursday evening she had been sitting at home, 
reading a novel which Eobert had lent her elicited a 
simultaneous expression of surprise from the lips of the four 

1 We were all there,' said Miss Mary ; ' mamma and all 
of us ; we even persuaded papa to go : Hannah would insist 
upon it; but he fell asleep while Mr. Langweilig, the German 
Moravian minister, was speaking : I felt quite ashamed, he 
nodded so.' 

' And there was Dr. Broadbent,' cried Hannah, ' such a 
beautiful speaker ! You couldn't expect it of him, for he is 
almost a vulgar-looking man.' 

' But such a dear man,' interrupted Mary. 

' And such a good man, such a useful man,' added her 

' Only like a butcher in appearance,' interposed the fair 
proud Harriet. ' I couldn't bear to look at him : I listened 
with my eyes shut.' 

Miss Helstone felt her ignorance and incompetency ; not 
having seen Dr. Broadbent, she could not give her opinion. 
Pause third came on. During its continuance, Caroline was 


feeling at her heart's core what a dreaming fool she was ; 
what an unpractical life she led ; how little fitness there was 
in her for ordinary intercourse with the ordinary world. 
She was feeling how exclusively she" had attached herself to 
the white cottage in the Hollow ; how in the existence of one 
inmate of that cottage she had pent all her universe : she 
was sensible that this would not do, and that some day she 
would be forced to make an alteration : it could not be said 
that she exactly wished to resemble the ladies before her, 
but she wished to become superior to her present self, so as 
to feel less scared by their dignity. 

The sole means she found of reviving the flagging dis- 
course was by asking them if they would all stay to tea ; 
and a cruel struggle it cost her to perform this piece of 
civility. Mrs. Sykes had begun ' We ai'e much obliged to 
you, but ' when in came Fanny once more. 

' The gentlemen will stay the evening, ma'am/ was the 
message she brought from Mr. Helstone. 

' What gentlemen have you ? ' now inquired Mrs. Sykes. 
Their names were specified ; she and her daughters inter- 
changed glances : the curates were not to them what they 
were to Caroline. Mr. Sweeting was quite a favourite with 
them ; even Mr. Malone rather so, because he was a clergy- 
man. ' Eeally, since you have company already, I think we 
will stay,' remarked Mrs. Sykes. ' We shall be quite a 
pleasant little party : I always like to meet the clergy.' 

And now Caroline had to usher them upstairs, to help 
them to unshawl, smooth their hair, and make themselves 
smart ; to re-conduct them to the drawing-room, to distri- 
bute amongst them books of engravings, or odd things 
purchased from the Jew-basket : she was obliged to be a 
purchaser, though she was but a slack contributor : and if 
she had possessed plenty of money, she would rather, when 
it was brought to the Rectory an awful incubus ! have 
purchased the whole stock, than contributed a single pin- 

It ought perhaps to be explained in passing, for the 


benefit of those who are not ' au fait ' to the mysteries of the 
' Jew-basket ' and ' Missionary-basket/ that these ' meubles ' 
are willow-repositories, of the capacity of a good-sized family 
clothes-basket, dedicated to the purpose of conveying from 
house to house a monster collection of pincushions, needle- 
books, card-racks, work-bags, articles of infant wear, &c. &c. 
&c., made by the willing or reluctant hands of the Christian 
ladies of a parish, and sold perforce to the heathenish 
gentlemen thereof, at prices unblushingly exorbitant. The 
proceeds of such compulsory sales are applied to the conver- 
sion of the Jews, the seeking out of the ten missing tribes, 
or to the regeneration of the interesting coloured population 
of the globe. Each lady-contributor takes it in her turn to 
keep the basket a month, to sew for it, and to foist off its 
contents on a shrinking male public. An exciting time it is 
when that turn comes round : some active-minded women 
with a good trading spirit like it, and enjoy exceedingly the 
fun of making hard-handed worsted-spinners cash up, to the 
tune of four or five hundred per cent, above cost price, for 
articles quite useless to them ; other feebler souls object to 
it, and would rather see the Prince of Darkness himself at 
their door any morning than that phantom-basket, brought 
with ' Mrs. Rouse's compliments, and please, ma'am, she 
says it's your turn now.' 

Miss Helstone's duties of hostess performed, more 
anxiously than cheerily, she betook herself to the kitchen, 
to hold a brief privy -council with Fanny and Eliza about 
the tea. 

1 What a lot on 'em ! ' cried Eliza, who was cook. ' And 
I put off the baking to-day because I thought there would 
be bread plenty to fit while morning : we shall never have 

' Are there any tea-cakes ? ' asked the young mistress. 

' Only three and a loaf. I wish these fine folk would 
stay at home till they're asked : and I want to finish trim- 
ming my hat ' (bonnet she meant). 

' Then,' suggested Caroline, to whom the importance of 


the emergency gave a certain energy, ' Fanny must run 
down to Briarfield and buy some muffins and crumpets, and 
some biscuits : and don't be cross, Eliza, we can't help it 

4 And which tea-things are we to have ? ' 

' Oh, the best, I suppose : I'll get out the silver service, 
and she ran upstairs to the plate-closet, and presently brought 
down teapot, cream-ewer, and sugar-basin. 

' And mun we have th' urn ? ' 

4 Yes ; and now get it ready as quickly as you can, for 
the sooner we have tea over, the sooner they will go at 
least, I hope so. Heigho ! I wish they were gone,' she 
sighed as she returned to the drawing-room. ' Still,' she 
thought, as she paused at the door ere opening it, ' if Eobert 
would but come even now how bright all would be ! How 
comparatively easy the task of amusing these people, if he 
were present ! There would be an interest in hearing him 
talk (though he never says much in company) and in talking 
in his presence : there can be no interest in hearing any of 
them, or in speaking to them. How they will gabble when 
the curates come in, and how weary I shall grow with listen- 
ing to them ! But I suppose I am a selfish fool : these are 
very respectable gentlefolks ; I ought no doubt to be proud 
of their countenance : I don't say they are not as good as 1 
am far from it but they are different from me.' 

She went in. 

Yorkshire people, in those days, took their tea round the 
table ; sitting well into it, with their knees duly introduced 
under the mahogany. It was essential to have a multitude 
of plates of bread and butter, varied in sorts and plentiful in 
quantity : it was thought proper, too, that on the centre-plate 
should stand a glass dish of marmalade ; among the viands 
was expected to be found a small assortment of cheesecakes 
and tarts : if there was also a plate of thin slices of pink ham 
garnished with green parsley, so much the better. 

Eliza, the Rector's cook, fortunately knew her business as 
provider: she had been put out of humour a little at 11 si, 


when the invaders came so unexpectedly in such strength ; 
but it appeared that she regained her cheerfulness with action, 
for in due time the tea was spread forth in handsome style ; 
and neither ham, tarts, nor marmalade were wanting among 
its accompaniments. 

The curates, summoned to this bounteous repast, entered 
joyous ; but at once, on seeing the ladies, of whose presence 
they had not been forewarned, they came to a stand in the door- 
way. Malone headed the party ; he stopped short and fell 
back, almost capsizing Donne, who was behind him. Donne, 
staggering three paces in retreat, sent little Sweeting into the 
arms of old Helstone, who brought up the rear. There was 
some expostulation, some tittering : Malone was desired to 
mind what he was about, and urged to push forward ; which 
at last he did, though colouring to the top of his peaked fore- 
head a bluish purple. Helstone, advancing, set the shy 
curates aside, welcomed all his fair guests, shook hands and 
passed a jest with each, and seated himself snugly between 
the lovely Harriet and the dashing Hannah ; Miss Mary he 
requested to move to the seat opposite to him, that he might 
see her, if he couldn't be near her. Perfectly easy and gallant, 
in his way, were his manners always to young ladies ; and 
most popular was he amongst them : yet, at heart, he neither 
respected nor liked the sex, and such of them as circumstances 
had brought into intimate relation with him had ever feared 
rather than loved him. 

The curates were left to shift for themselves. Sweeting, 
who was the least embarrassed of the three, took refuge be- 
side Mrs. Sykes, who, he knew, was almost as fond of him 
as if he had been her son. Donne, after making his general 
bow with a grace all his own, and saying in a high pragma- 
tical voice, " How d'ye do, Miss Helstone?" dropped into a 
seat at Caroline's elbow : to her unmitigated annoyance, for 
she bad a peculiar antipathy to Donne, on account of his 
stultified and unmovable self-conceit, and his incurable 
narrowness of mind. Malone, grinning most unmeaningly, 
inducted himself into the corresponding seat on the other 


side : she was thus blessed in a pair of supporters ; neither 
of whom, she knew, would be of any mortal use, whether for 
keeping up the conversation, handing cups, circulating the 
muffins, or even lifting the plate from the slop-basin. Little 
Sweeting, small and boyish as he was, would have been worth 
twenty of them. 

Malone, though a ceaseless talker when there were only 
men present, was usually tongue-tied in the presence of 
ladies : three phrases, however, he had ready cut and dried, 
which he never failed to produce : 

Istly. ' Have you had a walk to-day, Miss Helstone ? ' 
2ndly. ' Have you seen your cousin, Moore, lately ? ' 
3rdly. ' Does your class at the Sunday-school keep up 
its number ? ' 

These three questions being put and responded to, between 
Caroline and Malone reigned silence. 

With Donne it was otherwise : he was troublesome, exas- 
perating. He had a stock of small-talk on hand, at once the 
most trite and perverse that can well be imagined : abuse of 
the people of Briarfield ; of the natives of Yorkshire generally ; 
complaints of the want of high society ; of the backward 
state of civilization in these districts ; murmurings against 
the disrespectful conduct of the lower orders in the north 
toward their betters ; silly ridicule of the manner of living in 
these parts, the want of style, the absence of elegance, as if 
he, Donne, had been accustomed to very great doings indeed : 
an insinuation which his somewhat underbred manner and 
aspect failed to bear out. These strictures he seemed to think 
must raise him in the estimation of Miss Helstone, or of any 
other lady who heard him ; whereas with her, at least, they 
brought him to a level below contempt : though sometimes, 
indeed, they incensed her ; for a Yorkshire girl herself, she 
hated to hear Yorkshire abused by such a pitiful prater ; and 
when brought up to a certain pitch, she would turn and say 
something of which neither the matter nor the manner recom- 
mended her to Mr. Donne's good will. She would tell him 
it was no proof of refinement to be ever scolding others for 

118 SHIKLEt 

vulgarity : and no sign of a good pastor to be eternally cen- 
suring his flock. She would ask him what he had entered 
the church for, since he complained there were only 
cotttiges to visit, and poor people to preach to? whether lie 
had been ordained to the ministry merely to wear soft cloth- 
ing and sit in kings' houses ? These questions were con- 
sidered by all the curates as, to the last degree, audacious and 

Tea was a long time in progress : all the guests gabbled, 
as their hostess had expected they would. Mr. Helstone, 
being in excellent spirits, when, indeed, was he ever other- 
wise in society, attractive female society ? it being only 
with the one lady of his own family that he maintained a 
grim taciturnity, kept up a brilliant flow of easy prattle with 
his right-hand and left-hand neighbours, and even with his 
vis-d-vis, Miss Mary : though as Mary was the most sen- 
sible, the least coquettish of the three, to her the elderly 
widower was the least attentive. At heart, he could not abide 
sense in women : he liked to see them as silly, as light-headed, 
as vain, as open to ridicule as possible ; because they were 
then in reality what he held them to be, and wished them to 
be, inferior : toys to play with, to amuse a vacant hour and 
to be thrown away. 

Hannah was his favourite. Harriet, though beautiful, 
egotistical, and self-satisfied, was not quite weak enough for 
him ; she had some genuine self-respect amidst much false 
pride, and if she did not talk like an oracle, neither would 
she babble like one crazy : she would not permit herself to be 
treated quite as a doll, a child, a plaything : she expected to 
be bent to like a queen. 

Hannah, on the contrary, demanded no respect ; only 
flattery : if her admirers only told her that she was an angel, 
she would let them treat her like an idiot. So very credulous 
and frivolous was she : so very silly did she become when be- 
sieged with attention, flattered and admired to the proper de- 
gree, that there were moments when Helstone actually felt 
tempted to commit matrimony a second time, and to try the 


experiment of taking her for his second helpmeet : but, for- 
tunately, the salutary recollection of the ennuis of his first 
marriage, the impression still left on him of the weight of the 
millstone he had once worn round his neck, the fixity of his 
feelings respecting the insufferable evils of conjugal existence, 
operated as a check to his tenderness, suppressed the sigh 
heaving his old iron lungs, and restrained him from whisper- 
ing to Hannah proposals it would have been high fun and 
great satisfaction to her to hear. 

It is probable she would have married him if he had asked 
her : her parents would have quite approved the match : to 
them his fifty-five years, his bend-leather heart, could have 
presented no obstacles ; and, as he was a rector, held an ex- 
cellent living, occupied a good house, and was supposed even 
to have private property (though in that the world was 
mistaken : every penny of the 5.000/. inherited by him from 
his father had been devoted to the building and endowing of 
a new church at his native village in Lancashire for 
he could show a lordly munificence when he pleased, and if 
the end was to his liking, never hesitated about making a 
grand sacrifice to attain it), her parents, I say, would have 
delivered Hannah over to his loving kindness and his tender 
mercies without one scruple ; and the second Mrs. Hel- 
stone, inversing the natural order of insect existence, would 
have fluttered through the honeymoon a bright, admired 
butterfly, and crawled the rest of her days a sordid, trampled 

Little Mr. Sweeting, seated between Mrs. Sykes and Miss 
Mary, both of whom were very kind to him, and having a dish 
of tarts before him, and marmalade and crumpet upon his plate, 
looked and felt more content than any monarch. He was 
fond of all the Misses Sykes : they were all fond of him : he 
thought them magnificent girls, quite proper to mate with 
one of his inches. If he had a cause of regret at this blissful 
moment, it was that Miss Dora happened to be absent ; Dora 
being the one whom he secretly hoped one day to call Mrs. 
David Sweeting, with whom he dreamt of taking stately 


walks, leading her like an empress through the village of 
Nunnely : and an empress she would have been, if size 
could make an empress. She was vast, ponderous: seen 
from behind, she had the air of a very stout lady of forty ; 
but withal she possessed a good face, and no unkindly 

The meal at last drew to a close : it would have been 
over long ago, if Mr. Donne had not persisted in sitting with 
his cup half full of cold tea before him, long after the rest 
had finished and after he himself had discussed such allow- 
ance of viands as he felt competent to swallow long, indeed, 
after signs of impatience had been manifested all round the 
board : till chairs were pushed back ; till the talk flagged ; 
till silence fell. Vainly did Caroline inquire repeatedly if 
he would have another cup ; if he would take a little hot tea, 
as that must be cold, &c. : he would neither drink it nor leave 
it. He seemed to think that this isolated position of his 
gave him somehow a certain importance : that it was digni- 
fied and stately to be the last : that it was grand to keep all 
the others waiting. So long did he linger, that the very urn 
died ; it ceased to hiss. At length, however, the old Hector 
himself, who had hitherto been too pleasantly engaged with 
Hannah to care for the delay, got impatient. 

' For whom are we waiting ? ' he asked. 

' For me, I believe,' returned Donne, complacently ; 
appearing to think it much to his credit that a party should 
thus be kept dependent on his movements. 

' Tut ! ' cried Helstone : then standing up, ' Let us return 
thanks,' said he : which he did forthwith, and all quitted the 
table. Donne, nothing abashed, still sat ten minutes quite 
alone, whereupon Mr. Helstone rang the bell for the things 
to be removed ; the curate at length saw himself forced to 
empty his cup, and to relinquish the role which, he thought, 
had given him such a felicitous distinction, drawn upon him 
such flattering general notice. 

And now, in the natural course of events (Caroline, 
knowing how it would be, had opened the piano, and pro- 


duced music-books in readiness), music was asked for. This 
was Mr. Sweeting's chance for showing off: he was eager to 
commence ; he undertook, therefore, the arduous task of 
persuading the young ladies to favour the company with an 
air a song. Con amore, he went through the whole busi- 
ness of begging, praying, resisting excuses, explaining away 
difficulties, and at last succeeded in persuading Miss Harriet 
to allow herself to be led to the instrument. Then out came 
the pieces of his flute (he always carried them in his pocket, 
as unfailingly as he carried his handkerchief). They were 
screwed and arranged ; Malone and Donne meantime 
herding together, and sneering at him, which the little man, 
glancing over his shoulder, saw, but did not heed at all : he 
was persuaded their sarcasm all arose from envy : they could 
not accompany the ladies as he could ; he was about to enjoy 
a triumph over them. 

The triumph began. Malone, much chagrined at hearing 
him pipe up in most superior style, determined to earn dis- 
tinction, too, if possible, and all at once assuming the 
character of a swain (which character he had endeavoured to 
enact once or twice before, but in which he had not hitherto 
met with the success he doubtless opined his merits deserved), 
approached a sofa on which Miss Helstone was seated, and 
depositing his great Irish frame near her, tried his hand (or 
rather tongue) at a fine speech or two, accompanied by grins 
the most extraordinary and incomprehensible. In the 
course of his efforts to render himself agreeable, he contrived 
to possess himself of the two long sofa cushions and a 
square one ; with which, after rolling them about for some 
time with strange gestures, be managed to erect a sort of 
barrier between himself and the object of his attentions. 
Caroline, quite willing that they should bo sundorrd, soon 
devised an excuse for stepping over to the opposite side of 
the room, and taking up a position beside Mrs. Sykos ; of 
which good lady she entreated some instruction in a new 
stitch in ornamental knitting, a favour readily granted ; and 
thus Peter Augustus was thrown out. 


Very sullenly did his countenance lower when he saw 
himself abandoned, left entirely to his own resources, on a 
large sofa, with the charge of three small cushions on his 
hands. The fact was, he felt disposed seriously to cultivate 
acquaintance with Miss Helstone ; because he thought, in 
common with others, that her uncle possessed money, and 
concluded, that since he had no children, he would probably 
leave it to his niece. Gerard Moore was better instructed on 
this point : he had seen the neat church that owed its origin 
to the Rector's zeal and cash, and more than once, in his 
inmost soul, had cursed an expensive caprice which crossed 
his wishes. 

The evening seemed long to one person in that room. 
Caroline at intervals dropped her knitting on her lap, and 
gave herself up to a sort of brain-lethargy closing her eyes 
and depressing her head caused by what seemed to her the 
unmeaning hum around her : the inharmonious, tasteless 
rattle of the piano keys, the squeaking and gasping notes of 
the flute, the laughter and mirth of her uncle, and Hannah, 
and Mary, she could not tell whence originating, for she heard 
nothing comic or gleeful in their discourse ; and more than 
all by the interminable gossip of Mrs. Sykes murmui'ed 
close at her ear ; gossip which rang the changes on four sub- 
jects : her own health and that of the various members of her 
family ; the Missionary and Jew-baskets and their contents ; 
the late meeting at Nunnely, and one which was expected to 
come off next week at Whinbury. 

Tired at length to exhaustion, she embraced the oppor- 
tunity of Mr. Sweeting coming up to speak to Mrs. Sykes, to 
slip quietly out of the apartment, and seek a moment's respite 
in solitude. She repaired to the dining-room, where the 
clear but now low remnant of a tire still burnt in the grate. 
The place was empty and quiet, glasses and decanters were 
cleared from the table, the chairs were put back in their 
places, all was orderly. Caroline sank into her uncle's 
large easy chair, half bhut her eyes, and rested herself 
rested at least her limbs, her senses, her hearing, her vision 


weary with listening to nothing, and gazing on vacancy. 
As to her mind, that flew directly to the Hollow : it stood on 
the threshold of the parlour there, then it passed to the 
counting-house, and wondered which spot was blessed by the 
presence of Bobert. It so happened that neither locality had 
that honour ; for Robert was half a mile away from both, 
and much nearer to Caroline than her deadened spirit sus- 
pected : he was at this moment crossing the churchyard, 
approaching the Rectory garden -gate : not, however, coming 
to see his cousin, but intent solely on communicating a brief 
piece of intelligence to the Rector. 

Yes, Caroline ; you hear the wire of the bell vibrate : it 
rings again for the fifth time this afternoon : you start, 
and you are certain now that this must be him of whom you 
dream. Why you are so certain you cannot explain to your- 
self, but you know it. You lean forward, listening eagerly 
as Fanny opens the door : right ! that is the voice low with 
the slight foreign accent, but so sweet, as you fancy : you 
half rise : ' Fanny will tell him Mr. Helstone is with company, 
and then he will go away.' Oil ! she cannot let him go : in 
spite of herself in spite of her reason she walks half across 
the room ; she stands ready to dart out in case the step 
should retreat : but he enters the passage. ' Since your 
master is engaged,' he says, ' just show me into the dining- 
room ; bring me pen and ink : I will write a short note and 
leave it for him.' 

Now, having caught these words, and hearing him advance, 
Caroline, if there was a door within the dining-room, would 
glide through it and disappear. She feels caught, hemmed 
in ; she dreads her unexpected presence may annoy him. 
A second since, she would have flown to him ; that second 
past, she would flee from him. She cannot ; there is no way 
of escape ; the dining-room has but one door, through which 
now enters her cousin. The look of troubled surprise 
she expected to see in his face has appeared there, has 
shocked her, and is gone. She has stammered a sort of 
apology : 


' I only left the drawing-room a minute for a little 

There was something so diffident and downcast in the 
air and tone with which she said this, any one might per- 
ceive that some saddening change had lately passed over 
her prospects, and that the faculty of cheerful self-possession 
had left her. Mr. Moore, probably, remembered how she 
had formerly been accustomed to meet him with gentle 
ardour and hopeful confidence ; he must have seen how the 
check of this morning had operated : here was an oppor- 
tunity for carrying out his new system with effect, if he chose 
to improve it. Perhaps he found it easier to practise that 
system in broad daylight, in his mill-yard, amidst busy 
occupations, than in a quiet parlour, disengaged, at the hour 
of eventide. Fanny lit the candles, which before had stood 
unlit on the table, brought writing-materials, and left the 
room : Caroline was about to follow her. Moore, to act 
consistently, should have let her go; whereas he stood in 
the doorway, and, holding out his hand, gently kept her 
back ; he did not ask her to stay, but he would not let 
her go. 

1 Shall I tell my uncle you are here ? ' asked she, still in 
the same subdued voice. 

' No : I can say to you all I had to say to him. You will 
be my messenger.' 

4 Yes, Robert.' 

' Then you may just inform him that I have got a clue 
to the identity of one, at least, of the men who broke my 
frames ; that he belongs to the same gang who attacked 
Sykes and Pearson's dressing-shop ; and that I hope to have 
him in custody to-morrow. You can remember that ? ' 

' Oh ! yes.' These two monosyllables were uttered in a 
sadder tone than ever ; and, as she said them, she shook 
her head slightly, and sighed. ' Will you prosecute him ? ' 

1 Doubtless.' 

' No, Robert.' 

' And why no, Caroline ? ' 


' Because it will set all the neighbourhood against you 
more than ever.' 

' That is no reason why I should not do my duty, and 
defend my property. This fellow is a great scoundrel, and 
ought to be incapacitated from perpetrating further mis- 

' But his accomplices will take revenge on you. You do 
not know how the people of this country bear malice : it is 
the boast of some of them that they can keep a stone in 
their pocket seven years, turn it at the end of that time, 
keep it seven years longer, and hurl it and hit their mark " at 
last." ' 

Moore laughed. 

' A most pithy vaunt,' said he ; ' one that redounds 
vastly to the credit of your dear Yorkshire friends. But 
don't fear for me, Lina : I am on my guard against these 
lamb-like compatriots of yours : don't make yourself uneasy 
about me.' 

' How can I help it ? You are my cousin. If anything 
happened ' she stopped. 

1 Nothing will happen, Lina. To speak in your own 
language, there is a Providence above all is there not ? ' 

' Yes, dear Eobert. May He guard you ! ' 

' And if prayers have efficacy, yours will benefit me : you 
pray for me sometimes ? ' 

' Not sometimes, Eobert : you, and Louis, and Hortense 
are always remembered.' 

' So I have often imagined : it has occurred to me, when, 
weary and vexed, I have myself gone to bed like a heathen, 
that another had asked forgiveness for my day and safety 
for my night. I don't suppose such vicarial piety will avail 
much ; but the petitions come out of a sincere breast, from 
innocent lips : they should be acceptable as Abel's offering ; 
and doubtless would be, if the object deserved them.' 

' Annihilate that doubt : it is groundless.' 

' When a man has been brought up only to make money, 
and lives to make it, and for nothing else, and scarcely 


breathes any other air than that of mills and markets, it 
seems odd to utter his name in a prayer, or to mix his idea 
with anything divine ; and very strange it seems, that a 
good, pure heart should take him in and harbour him, as if 
he had any claim to that sort of nest. If I could guide that 
benignant heart, I believe I should counsel it to exclude 
one who does not profess to have any higher aim in life 
than that of patching up his broken fortune, and wiping 
clean from his bourgeois scutcheon the foul stain of bank- 

The hint, though conveyed thus tenderly and modestly 
(as Caroline thought), was felt keenly and comprehended 

' Indeed, I only think or I will only think of you as 
my cousin,' was the quick answer. ' I am beginning to 
understand things better than I did, Kobert, when you first 
came to England : better than I did, a week a day ago. I 
know it is your duty to try to get on, and that it won't 
do for you to be romantic ; but in future you must not 
misunderstand me, if I seem friendly. You misunderstood 
me this morning, did you not ? ' 

' What made you think so ? ' 

I Your look your manner. 1 
' But look at me now ' 

' Oh ! you are different now : at present, I dare speak to 

' Yet I am the same, except that I have left the trades- 
man behind me in the Hollow : your kinsman alone stands 
before you.' 

' My cousin Robert ; not Mr. Moore.' 

' Not a bit of Mr. Moore. Caroline ' 

Here the company was heard rising in the other room ; 
the door was opened ; the pony-carriage was ordered ; 
shawls and bonnets were demanded ; Mr. Helstone called 
for his niece. 

I 1 must go, Robert.' 

' Yes, you must go, or they will come in, and find us 


here ; and I, rather than meet all that host in the passage, 
will take my departure through the window : luckily, it 
opens like a door. One minute only put down the candle 
an instant good night ! I kiss you because we are cousins ; 
and, being cousins one two three kisses are allowable. 
Caroline, good-night ! ' 



THE next day, Moore had risen before the sun, and had 
taken a ride to Whinbury and back ere his sister had made 
the caf6 au lait, or cut the tartines for his breakfast. What 
business he transacted there, he kept to himself. Hortense 
asked no questions : it was not her wont to comment on his 
movements, nor his to render an account of them. The 
secrets of business complicated and often dismal mysteries 
were buried in his breast, and never came out of their 
sepulchre, save now and then to scare Joe Scott, or give a 
start to some foreign correspondent : indeed, a general habit 
of reserve on whatever was important seemed bred in his 
mercantile blood. 

Breakfast over, he went to his counting-house. Henry, 
Joe Scott's boy, brought in the letters and the daily papers ; 
Moore seated himself at his desk, broke the seals of the 
documents, and glanced them over. They were all short, 
but not it seemed sweet ; probably rather sour on the 
contrary, for as Moore laid down the last, his nostrils 
emitted a derisive and defiant snuff; and, though he burst 
into no soliloquy, there was a glance in his eye which seemed 
to invoke the devil, and lay charges on him to sweep the 
whole concern to Gehenna. However, having chosen a pen 
and stripped away the feathered top in a brief spasm of 
finger-fury only finger-fury, his face was placid he dashed 
off a batch of answers, sealed them, and then went out and 
walked through the mill : on coming back, he sat down to 
read his newspaper. 


The contents seemed not absorbingly interesting ; he 
more than once laid it across his knee, folded his arms, and 
gazed into the fire ; he occasionally turned his head towards 
the window ; he looked at intervals at his watch : in short, 
his mind appeared pre-occupied. Perhaps he was thinking 
of the beauty of the weather for it was a fine and mild 
morning for the season and wishing to be out in the fields 
enjoying it. The door of his counting-house stood wide 
open, the breeze and sunshine entered freely ; but the first 
visitant brought no spring perfume on its wings, only an 
occasional sulphur-puff from the soot-thick column of smoke 
rushing sable from the gaunt mill-chimney. 

A dark-blue apparition (that of Joe Scott, fresh from a 
dyeing vat) appeared momentarily at the open door, uttered 
the words, ' He's corned, sir,' and vanished. 

Mr. Moore raised not his eyes from the paper. A large 
man, broad-shouldered and massive-limbed,, clad in fustian 
garments and grey-worsted stockings, entered, who was 
received with a nod, and desired to take a seat ; which he 
did, making the remark as he removed his hat (a very bad 
one), stowed it away under his chair, and wiped his forehead 
with a spotted cotton handkerchief extracted from the hat- 
crown that it was ' raight dahn warm for Febewerry.' 
Mr. Moore assented : at least he uttered some slight sound, 
which, though inarticulate, might pass for an assent. The 
visitor now carefully deposited in the corner beside him an 
official-looking staff which he bore in his hand ; this done, 
he whistled, probably by way of appearing at his ease. 

' You have what is necessary, I suppose ? ' said Mr. 

' Ay ! ay ! all's right.' 

He renewed his whistling, Mr. Moore his reading : the 
paper apparently had become more interesting. Presently, 
however, he turned to his cupboard, which was within reach 
of his long arm, opened it without rising, took out a black 
bottle the same he had produced for Malonc's benefit- a 
tumbler, and a jug, placed them on the table, and said to 


his guest, ' Help yourself ; there's water in that jar in the 

' I dunnut knaw that there's mich need, for all a body is 
dry ' (thirsty) ' in a morning,' said the fustian gentleman, 
rising and doing as requested. 

' Will you tak' naught yourseln, Mr. Moore ? ' he inquired, 
as with skilled hand he mixed a portion, and, having tested 
it by a deep draught, sank back satisfied and bland in his 
seat. Moore chary of words replied by a negative move- 
ment and murmur. 

1 Yah'd as good,' continued his visitor ; ' it 'uld set ye up, 
wald a sup o' this stuff. Uncommon good Hollands ! ye 
get it fro' furrin parts, I'se think ? ' 


' Tak' my advice, and try a glass on't ; them lads 'at 's 
coming '11 keep ye talking, nob'dy knows how long : ye'll 
need propping.' 

1 Have you seen Mr. Sykes this morning ? ' inquired 

' I seed him a hauf an hour nay happen a quarter of 
an hour sin', just afore I set off: he said he aimed to come 
here, and I sudn't wonder but ye'll have old Helstone too ; 
I see'd 'em saddling his little nag as I passed at back o' t' 

The speaker was a true prophet, for the trot of a little 
nag's hoofs were, five minutes after, heard in the yard ; it 
stopped, and a well-known nasal voice cried aloud ' Boy ' 
(probably addressing Harry Scott, who usually hung about 
the premises from nine A.M. to five P.M.), ' take my horse and 
lead him into the stable.' 

Helstone came in marching nimbly and erect, looking 
browner, keener, and livelier than usual. 

' Beautiful morning, Moore : how do, my boy ? Ha ! 
Whom have we here ? ' (turning to the personage with the 
staff). ' Sugden ! What! you're going to work directly? 
On my word, you lose no time : but I come to ask explana- 
tions : your message was delivered to me ; are you sure 


you are on the right scent ? How do you mean to set about 
the business ? Have you got a warrant ? ' 

' Sugden has.' 

' Then you are going to seek him now ! I'll accompany 

' You will be spared that trouble, sir ; he is coming 
to seek me. I'm just now sitting in state, waiting his 

' And who is it ? One of my parishioners ? ' 

Joe Scott had entered unobserved ; he now stood, a 
most sinister phantom, half his person being dyed of the 
deepest tint of indigo, leaning on the desk. His master's 
answer to the Eector's question was a smile ; Joe took the 
word ; putting on a quiet but pawky look, he said, ' It's 
a friend of yours, Mr. Helstone ; a gentleman you often 
speak of.' 

' Indeed ! His name, Joe ? You look well this morn- 

' Only the Eev. Moses Barraclough : t' tub orator you 
call him sometimes, I think.' 

' Ah ! ' said the Sector, taking out his snuff-box, and ad- 
ministering to himself a very long pinch ' Ah ! couldn't have 
supposed it. Why, the pious man never was a workman of 
yours, Moore ? He's a tailor by trade.' 

' And so much the worse grudge I owe him for inter- 
fering, and setting my discarded men against me.' 

' And Moses was actually present at the battle of Stilbro' 
Moor ? He went there wooden leg and all ? ' 

' Ay, sir,' said Joe ; ' he went there on horseback, that 
his leg mightn't be noticed : he was the captain and wore a 
mask ; the rest only had their faces blacked.' 

1 And how was he found out ? ' 

' I'll tell you, sir,' said Joe : t'maister's not so fond of 
talking ; I've no objections. He courted Sarah, Mr. Moore's 
sarvant lass, and so it seems she would have nothing to say 
to him ; she either didn't like his wooden leg, or she'd some 
notion about his being a hypocrite. Happen (for women is 


queer hands we may say that amang werseln when there's 
none of 'em nigh) she'd have encouraged him, in spite of his 
leg and his deceit just to pass time like ; I've known some 
on 'em do as mich, and some o* t' bonniest and mimmest- 
looking, too ay ! I've seen clean, trim young things, that 
looked as denty and pure as daisies, and wi' time a body fun* 
'em out to be nowt but stinging, venomed nettles.' 

' Joe's a sensible fellow,' interjected Helstone. 

' Howsiver, Sarah had another string to her bow : Fred 
Murgatroyd, one of our lads, is for her, and as women judge 
men by their faces and Fred has a middling face, while 
Moses is none so handsome, as we all knaw the lass took 
on wi' Fred. A two-three months sin', Murgatroyd and 
Moses chanced to meet one Sunday night ; they'd both come 
lurking about these premises wi' the notion of counselling 
Sarah to tak' a bit of a walk wi' them ; they fell out, had a 
tussle, and Fred was worsted : for he's young and small, and 
Barraclough, for all he has only one leg, is almost as strong 
as Sugden there ; indeed, anybody that hears him roaring at 
a revival or a love-feast may be sure he's no weakling.' 

' Joe, you're insupportable,' here broke in Mr. Moore. 
' You spin out your explanation as Moses spins out his ser- 
mons. The long and short of it is, Murgatroyd was jealous 
of Barraclough ; and last night, as he and a friend took 
shelter in a barn from a shower, they heard and saw Moses 
conferring with some associates within. From their discourse, 
it was plain he had been the leader, not only at Stilbro' Moor, 
but in the attack on Sykes's property: moreover, they planned 
a deputation to wait on me this morning, which the tailor is 
to head, and which, in the most religious and peaceful spirit, 
is to entreat me to put the accursed thing out of my tent. I 
rode over to Whinbury this morning, got a constable and a 
warrant, and I am now waiting to give my friend the re- 
ception he deserves ; here, meantime, comes Sykes : Mr. Hel- 
stone, you must spirit him up ; he feels timid at the thoughts 
of prosecuting.' 

A gig was heard to roll into the yard : Mr. Sykes entered ; 


a tall, stout man of about fifty, comely of feature, but feeble 
of physiognomy : he looked anxious. 

' Have they been ? Are they gone ? Have you got him ? 
IB it over ? ' he asked. 

' Not yet,' returned Moore with phlegm. ' We are waiting 
for them.' 

' They'll not come ; it's near noon : better give it up ; it 
will excite bad feeling make a stir cause perhaps fatal 

' You need not appear,' said Moore. ' I shall meet them 
in the yard when they come ; you can stay here.' 

' But my name must be seen in the law proceedings : a wife 
and family, Mr. Moore a wife and family make a man 

Moore looked disgusted. ' Give way, if you please," said 
he ; ' leave me to myself ; I have no objection to act alone : 
only be assured you will not find safety in submission ; your 
partner, Pearson, gave way, and conceded, and forbore 
well, that did not prevent them from attempting to shoot 
him in his own house.' 

' My dear sir, take a little wine and water,' recommended 
Mr. Helstone. The wine and water was Hollands and water, 
as Mr. Sykes discovered when he had compounded and 
swallowed a brimming tumbler thereof : it transfigured him 
in two minutes, brought the colour back to his face, and made 
him at least wo? - c?-valiant. He now announced that he hoped 
he was above being trampled on by the common people ; he 
was determined to endure the insolence of the working- 
classes no longer ; he had considered of it and made up his 
mind to go all lengths ; if money and spirit could put clown 
these rioters, they should be put down ; Mr. Moore might 
do as he liked, but he Christie Sykes would spend his last 
penny in law before he would be beaten : he'd settle them, or 
he'd see. 

' Take another glass,' urged Moore. 

Mr. Sykes didn't mind if he did ; this was a cold morning 
(Sugden had found it a warm one) ; it was necessary to bo 


careful at this season of the year it was proper to take 
something to keep the damp out ; he had a little cough already 
(here he coughed in attestation of the fact) ; something of 
this sort (lifting the black bottle) was excellent, taken medi- 
cinally (he poured the physic into his tumbler) ; he didn't 
make a practice of drinking spirits in a morning, but occa- 
sionally it really was prudent to take precautions. 

1 Quite prudent, and take them by all means,' urged the 

Mr. Sykes now addressed Mr. Helstone, who stood on the 
hearth, his shovel-hat on his head, watching him significantly 
with his little keen eyes. 

' You, sir, as a clergyman,' said he, ' may feel it disagree- 
able to be present amidst scenes of hurry and flurry, and, I 
may say, peril : I daresay your nerves won't stand it ; you're 
a man of peace, sir, but we manufacturers, living in the world, 
and always in turmoil, get quite belligerent. Really, there's 
an ardour excited by the thoughts of danger that makes my 
heart pant. When Mrs. Sykes is afraid of the house being 
attacked and broke open as she is every night I get quite 
excited. I couldn't describe to you, sir, my feelings : really, 
if anybody was to come thieves or anything I believe I 
should enjoy it, such is my spirit.' 

The hardest of laughs, though brief and low, and by no 
means insulting, was the response of the Rector. Moore 
would have pressed upon the heroic mill-owner a third tum- 
bler, but the clergyman, who never transgressed, nor would 
suffer others in his presence to transgress the bounds of 
decorum, checked him. 

' Enough is as good as a feast, is it not, Mr. Sykes ? ' he 
said, and Mr. Sykes assented ; and then sat and watched Joe 
Scott remove the bottle at a sign from Helstone, with 
a self-satisfied simper on his lips and a regretful glisten in 
his eye. Moore looked as if he should have liked to fool him 
to the top of his bent. What would a certain young kins- 
woman of his have said could she have seen her dear, good, 
great Robert her Coriolanus just now ? Would she have 


acknowledged in that mischievous, sardonic visage the same 
face to which she had looked up with such love, which had 
bent over her with such gentleness last night ? Was that 
the man who had spent so quiet an evening with his sister 
and his cousin so suave to one, so tender to the other 
reading Shakspeare and listening to Ch^nier ? 

Yes, it was the same man, only seen on a different side ; 
a side Caroline had not yet fairly beheld, though perhaps she 
had enough sagacity faintly to suspect its existence. Well, 
Caroline had, doubtless, her defective side too : she was 
human, she must, then, have been very imperfect, and had she 
seen Moore on his very worst side, she would probably have 
said this to herself and excused him. Love can excuse any- 
thing except Meanness ; but Meanness kills Love, cripples 
even Natural Affection : without Esteem, True Love cannot 
exist. Moore with all his faults might be esteemed ; for he 
had no moral scrofula in his mind, no hopeless polluting taint, 
such, for instance, as that of falsehood ; neither was he the 
slave of his appetites ; the active life to which he had been 
born and bred had given him something else to do than to 
join the futile chase of the pleasure-hunter : he was a man 
undegraded, the disciple of Eeason, not the votary of Sense. 
The same might be said of old Helstone : neither of these two 
would look, think, or speak a lie ; for neither of them had the 
wretched black bottle, which had just been put away, any 
charms ; both might boast a valid claim to the proud title of 
' lord of the creation,' for no animal vice was lord of them : 
they looked and were superior beings to poor Sykes. 

A sort of gathering and trampling sound was heard in the 
yard, and then a pause. Moore walked to the window, 
Helstone followed ; both stood on one side, the tall junior 
behind the under-sized senior, looking forth carefully, so 
that they might not be visible from without ; their sole com- 
ment on what they saw was a cynical smile flashed into each 
other's stern eyes. 

A flourishing oratorical cough was now heard, followed by 
the interjection, ' Whisht ! ' designed, as it seemed, to still the 


hum of several voices. Moore opened his casement an inch 
or two to admit sound more freely. 

' Joseph Scott,' began a snuffling voice Scott was standing 
sentinel at the counting-house door ' might we inquire if 
your master be within, and is to be spoken to ? ' 

' He's within, ay ! ' said Joe, nonchalantly. 

' Would you, then, if you please ' (emphasis on ' you '), 
1 have the goodness to tell him that twelve gentlemen wants 
to see him.' 

' He'd happen to ax what for,' suggested Joe. ' I mught 
as weel tell him that at t'same time.' 

' For a purpose,' was the answer. Joe entered. 

4 Please, sir, there's twelve gentlemen wants to see ye, 
" for a purpose." ' 

1 Good, Joe ; I'm their man. Sugden, come when I 

Moore went out, chuckling dryly. He advanced into the 
yard, one hand in his pocket, the other in his waistcoat, his 
cap brim over his eyes, shading in some measure their deep 
dancing ray of scorn. Twelve men waited in the yard, some 
in their shirt-sleeves, some in blue aprons : two figured 
conspicuously in the van of the party. One, a little dapper 
strutting man, with a turned-up nose ; the other, a broad- 
shouldered fellow, distinguished no less by his demure face 
and cat-like, trustless eyes than by a wooden leg and stout 
crutch : there was a kind of leer about his lips, he seemed 
laughing in his sleeve at some person or thing, his whole air 
was anything but that of a time man. 

' Good morning, Mr. Barraclough,' said Moore debonairly, 
for him. 

' Peace be unto you ! ' was the answer : Mr. Barraclough 
entirely closing his naturally half-shut eyes as he delivered 

' I'm obliged to you : peace is an excellent thing ; there's 
nothing I more wish for myself ; but that is not all you 
have to say to me, I suppose ? I imagine peace is not your 
purpose ? ' 


'As to our purpose,' began Barraclough, 'it's one that 
may sound strange, and perhaps foolish to ears like yours, 
for the childer of this world is wiser in their generation than 
the childer of light.' 

' To the point, if you please, and let me hear what it is.' 

' Ye'se hear, sir ; if I cannot get it off, there's eleven 
hehint can help me. It is a grand purpose, and ' (changing 
his voice from a half-sneer to a whine) ' it's the Looard's 
own purpose, and that's better.' 

' Do you want a subscription to a new ranter's chapel, 
Mr. Barraclough ? Unless your errand be something of that 
sort, I cannot see what you have to do with it.' 

' I hadn't that duty on my mind, sir ; but as Providence 
has led ye to mention the subject, I'll make it i' my way to 
tak' ony trifle ye may have to spare ; the smallest contribu- 
tion will be acceptable.' 

With that he doffed his hat, and held it out as a begging- 
box ; a brazen grin at the same time crossing his counte- 

1 If I gave you sixpence, you would drink it.' 

Barraclough uplifted the palms of his hands and the 
whites of his eyes, evincing in the gesture a mere burlesque 
of hypocrisy. 

' You seem a fine fellow,' said Moore, quite coolly and 
dryly ; ' you don't care for showing me that you are a 
double-dyed hypocrite, that your trade is fraud : you expect, 
indeed, to make me laugh at the cleverness with which you 
play your coarsely farcical part, while at the same time you 
think you are deceiving the men behind you.' 

Moses' countenance lowered ; he saw he had gone too 
far : he was going to answer, when the second leader, 
impatient of being hitherto kept in the background, stepped 
forward. This man did not look like a traitor, though he 
had an exceedingly self-confident and conceited air. 

1 Mr. Moore,' commenced he, speaking also in his throat 
and nose, and enunciating each word very slowly, as if with 
a view to giving his audience time to appreciate fully the 


uncommon elegance of the phraseology ; ' it might, perhaps, 
justly be said that reason rather than peace is our purpose. 
We come, in the first place, to request you to hear reason, 
and should you refuse, it is my duty to warn you, in very 
decided terms, that measures will be had resort to' (he 
meant recourse) 'which will probably terminate in in 
bringing you to a sense of the unwisdom, of the the 
foolishness, which seems to guide and guard your perceedings 
as a tradesman in this manufacturing part of the country. 
Hem ! . . . . sir, I would beg to allude that as a furriner, 
coming from a distant coast, another quarter and hemi- 
sphere of this globe, thrown, as I may say, a perfect outcast 
on these shores the cliffs of Albion you have not that 
understanding of huz and wer ways which might conduce 
to the benefit of the working-classes. If, to come at once to 
partic'lars, you'd consider to give up this here mi In, and go 
without further protractions straight home to where you 
belong, it 'ud happen be as well. I can see naught ageean 
such a plan. What hev ye to say tull 't, lads ? ' turning 
round to the other members of the deputation, who responded 
unanimously, ' Hear, hear ! ' 

1 Brayvo, Noah o' Tim's ! ' murmured Joe Scott, who 
stood behind Mr. Moore. ' Moses '11 niver beat that Cliffs 
o' Albion, and t' other hemisphere ! my certy ! Did ye 
come fro' th' Antarctic Zone, maister ? Moses is dished.' 

Moses, however, refused to be dished ; he thought he 
would try again. Casting a somewhat ireful glance at 
' Noah o' Tim's,' he launched out in his turn : and now he 
spoke in a serious tone, relinquishing the sarcasm which he 
found had not answered. 

' Or iver you set up the pole o' your tent amang us, Mr. 
Moore, we lived i' peace and quietness ; yea, I may say, in 
all loving-kindness. I am not myself an aged person as yet, 
but I can remember as far back as maybe some twenty year, 
when hand-labour were encouraged and respected, arid no 
mischief-maker had ventured to introduce these here 
machines, which is so pernicious. NOW, I'm not a cloth- 


dresser myself, but by trade a tailor ; howsiver, my heart is 
of a softish natur' : I'm a very feeling man, and when I see 
my brethren oppressed, like my great namesake of old, I 
stand up for 'em ; for which intent, I this day speak with 
you face to face, and advises you to part wi' your infernal 
machinery, and tak' on more hands.' 

' What if I don't follow your advice, Mr. Barraclough ? ' 
' The Looard pardon you ! The Looard soften your 
heart, sir I ' 

' Are you in connection with the Wesleyans now, Mr. 
Barraclough ? ' 

' Praise God ! Bless His Name ! I'm a joined 
Methody ! ' 

' Which in no respect prevents you from being at the 
same time a drunkard and a swindler. I saw you one night 
a week ago laid dead-drunk by the roadside, as I returned 
from Stilbro' market ; and while you preach peace, you 
make it the business of your life to stir up dissension. You 
no more sympathise with the poor who are in distress than 
you sympathise with me : you incite them to outrage for 
bad purposes of your own ; so does the individual called 
Noah o' Tim's. You two are restless, meddling, impudent 
scoundrels, whose chief motive-principle is a selfish ambition, 
as dangerous as it is puerile. The persons behind you are 
some of them honest though misguided men ; but you two 
I count altogether bad.' 

Barraclough was going to speak. 

' Silence ! You have had your say, and now I will have 
mine. As to being dictated to by you, or any Jack Jem, or 
Jonathan on earth, I shall not suffer it for a moment. You 
desire me to quit the country : you request me to part with 
my machinery ; in case I refuse, you threaten me. I do 
refuse point-blank ! Here I stay ; and by this mill I 
stand; and into it will I convey the best machinery inventors 
can furnish. What will you do ? The utmost you can do 
and this you will never dare to do is to burn down my mill, 
destroy its contents, and shoot me. What then ? Suppose 


that building was a ruin and I was a corpse, what then ? 
you lads behind these two scamps, would that stop invention 
or exhaust science ? Not for the fraction of a second of 
time ! Another and better gig-mill would rise on the ruins 
of this, and perhaps a more enterprising owner come in my 
place. Hear me ! I'll make my cloth as I please, and 
according to the best lights I have. In its manufacture 
I will employ what means I choose. Whoever, after 
hearing this, shall dare to interfere with me, may just 
take the consequences. An example shall prove I'm in 

He whistled shrill and loud. Sugden, his staff and 
warrant, came on to the scene. 

Moore turned sharply to Barraclough : ' You were at 
Stilbro',' said he ; 'I have proof of that. You were on 
the moor, you wore a mask, you knocked down one of 
my men with your own hand, you 1 a preacher of the 
Gospel ! Sugden, arrest him ! ' 

Moses was captured. There was a cry and a rush to 
rescue, but the right hand which all this while had lain 
hidden in Moore's breast, re-appearing, held out a pistol. 

' Both barrels are loaded,' said he. ' I'm quite deter- 
mined ! keep off! ' 

Stepping backwards, facing the foe as he went, he 
guarded his prey to the counting-house. He ordered Joe 
Scott to pass in with Sugden and the prisoner, and to bolt 
the door inside. For himself, he walked backwards and 
forwards along the front of the mill, looking meditatively on 
the ground, his hand hanging carelessly by his side, but 
still holding the pistol. The eleven remaining deputies 
watched him some time, talking under their breath to each 
other : at length one of them approached. This man looked 
very different from either of the two who had previously 
spoken : he was hard-f&voured, but modest, and manly 

' I've not much faith i' Moses Barraclough,' said he, ' and 
I would speak a word to you myseln, Mr. Moore. It's out o* 


no ill-will that I am here, for my part ; it's just to mak' a effort 
to get things straightened, for they're sorely a crooked. Ye 
see we're ill off varry ill off : wer families is poor and pined. 
We're thrown out o' work wi' these frames : we can get 
naught to do : we can earn nought. What is to be done ? 
Mun we say, wisht ! and lig us down and dee ? Nay : I've 
no grand words at my tongue's end, Mr. Moore, but I feel that 
it would be a low principle for a reasonable man to starve to 
death like a dumb creatur' I will n't do't. I'm not for 
shedding blood : I'd neither kill a man nor hurt a man ; and 
I'm not for pulling down mills and breaking machines : for, 
as ye say, that way o' going on '11 niver stop invention ; but 
I'll talk I'll mak' as big a din as ever I can. Invention may 
be all right, but I know it isn't right for poor folks to starve. 
Them that governs mun find a way to help us : they mun 
mak' fresh orderations. Ye'U say that's hard to do so 
mich louder mun we shout out then, for so much slacker will 
t' Parliament-men be to set on to a tough job.' 

1 Worry the Parliament-men as much as you please,' said 
Moore ; ' but to worry the mill-owners is absurd ; and I, for 
one, won't stand it.' 

' Ye're a raight hard 'un ! ' returned the workman. ' Will 
n't ye gie us a bit o' time ? Will n't ye consent to mak' your 
changes rather more slowly ? ' 

' Am I the whole body of clothiers in Yorkshire ? Answer 
me that ! ' 

1 Ye're yourseln.' 

' And only myself : and if I stopped by the way an instant, 
while others are rushing on, I should be trodden down. If 
I did as you wish me to do, I should be bankrupt in a month, 
and would my bankruptcy put bread into your hungry chil- 
dren's mouths ? William Farren, neither to your dictation, 
nor to that of any other, will I submit. Talk to me no more 
about machinery ; I will have my own way. I shall get new 
frames in to-morrow. If you broke these, I would still get 
more. I'll never give in.' 

Here the mill-bell rang twelve o'clock : it was the dinner- 


hour. Moore abruptly turned from the deputation and re- 
entered his counting-house. 

His last words had left a bad, harsh impression : he, at 
least, had ' failed in the disposing of a chance he was lord of.' 
By speaking kindly to William Farren who was a very 
honest man, without envy or hatred of those more happily 
circumstanced than himself ; thinking it no hardship and no 
injustice to be forced to live by labour ; disposed to be 
honourably content if he could but get work to do Moore 
might have made a friend. It seemed wonderful how he 
could turn from such a man without a conciliatory or a sym- 
pathising expression. The poor fellow's face looked haggard 
with want : he had the aspect of a man who had not known 
what it was to live in comfort and plenty for weeks, perhaps 
months past ; and yet there was no ferocity, no malignity in 
his countenance : it was worn, dejected, austere, but still 
patient. How could Moore leave him thus, with the words 
' I'll never give in,' and not a whisper of good-will, or hope, or 

Farren, as he went home to his cottage once, in better 
times, a decent, clean, pleasant place, but now, though still 
clean, very dreary, because so poor asked himself this 
question. He concluded that the foreign mill-owner was a 
selfish, an unfeeling, and, he thought, too, a foolish man. It 
appeared to him that emigration, had he only the means to 
emigrate, would be preferable to service under such a master. 
He felt much cast down almost hopeless. 

On his entrance, his wife served out, in orderly sort, such 
dinner as she had to give him and the bairns ; it was only 
porridge, and too little of that. Some of the younger children 
asked for more when they had done their portion an appli- 
cation which disturbed William much : while his wife quieted 
them as well as she could, he left his seat and went to the 
door. He whistled a cheery stave, which did not, however, 
prevent a broad drop or two (much more like the ' first of a 
thunder-shower' than those which oozed from the wound of 
the gladiator) from gathering on the lids of his grey eyes, and 


plashing thence to the threshold. He cleared his vision with 
his sleeve, and the melting mood over, a very stern one 

He still stood brooding in silence, when a gentleman in 
black came up a clergyman, it might be seen at once ; but 
neither Helstone, nor Malone, nor Donne, nor Sweeting. He 
might be forty years old ; he was plain-looking, dark- 
complexioned, and already rather grey-haired. He stooped 
a little in walking. His countenance, as he came on, wore 
an abstracted and somewhat doleful air ; but, in approaching 
Farren, he looked up, and then a hearty expression illuminated 
the pre-occupied, serious face. 

' Is it you, William ? How are you ? ' he asked. 

' Middling, Mr. Hall : how are ye ? Will ye step in and 
rest ye ? ' 

Mr. Hall, whose name the reader has seen mentioned 
before (and who, indeed, was vicar of Nunnely, of which 
parish Farren was a native, and from whence he had removed 
but three years ago to reside in Briarfield, for the convenience 
of being near Hollow's-mill, where he had obtained work), 
entered the cottage, and, having greeted the good wife and 
the children, sat down. He proceeded to talk very cheerfully 
about the length of time that had elapsed since the family 
quitted his parish, the changes which had occurred since ; he 
answered questions touching his sister Margaret, who was 
inquired after with much interest ; he asked questions in his 
turn, and at last, glancing hastily and anxiously round 
through his spectacles (he wore spectacles, for he was short- 
sighted) at the bare room, and at the meagre and wan faces 
of the circle about him for the children had come round 
his knee, and the father and mother stood before him 
he said, abruptly, ' And how are you all ? How do you 
get on ? ' 

Mr. Hall, be it remarked, though an accomplished scholar, 
not only spoke with a strong northern accent, but, on occa- 
sion, used freely north-country expressions. 

' We get on poorly,' said William : ' we're all out of work. 


I've selled most o' t' household stuff, as ye may see ; and 
what we're to do next, God knows." 

' Has Mr. Moore turned you off ? ' 

' He has turned us off ; and I've sich an opinion of him 
now, that I think, if he'd tak' me on again to-morrow, I 
wouldn't work for him.' 

'It is not like you to say so, William.' 

' I know it isn't ; but I'm getting different to mysel' : I 
feel I am changing. I wadn't heed, if t' bairns and t' wife 
had enough to live on; but they're pinched they're 

' Well, my lad, and so are you ; I see you are. These are 
grievous times ; I see suffering wherever I turn. William, 
sit down ; Grace, sit down ; let us talk it over.' 

And in order the better to talk it over, Mr. Hall 
lifted the least of the children on to his knee, and placed his 
hand on the head of the next least ; but when the small 
things began to chatter to him, he bid them ' Whist ! ' and, 
fixing his eyes on the grate, he regarded the handful of embers 
which burnt there very gravely. 

1 Sad times ! ' he said, ' and they last long. It is the wil 
of God : His will be done ! but He tries us to the utmost.' 

Again he reflected. 

' You've no money, William, and you've nothing you could 
sell to raise a small sum ? ' 

' No : I've selled t' chest o' drawers, and t' clock, and t' 
bit of a mahogany stand, and t' wife's bonny tea-tray and set 
o' cheeney 'at she brought for a portion when we were wed.' 

' And if somebody lent you a pound or two, could you 
make any good use of it ? Could you get into a new way of 
doing something ? ' 

Farren did not answer ; but his wife said quickly, ' Ay, 
I'm sure he could, sir ; he's a very contriving chap, is our 
William. If he'd two or three pounds, he could begin selling 

' Could you, William ? ' 

' Please God,' returned William, deliberately, ' I could 


buy groceries, and bits o* tapes, and thread, and what I 
thought would sell, and I could begin hawking at first.' 

' And you know, sir,' interposed Grace, ' you're sure 
William would neither drink, nor idle, nor waste in any way. 
He's my husband, and I shouldn't praise him ; but I will 
say, there's not a soberer, honester man i' England nor he is.' 

1 Well, I'll speak to one or two friends, and I think I can 
promise to let him have 51. in a day or two : as a loan, ye 
mind, not a gift : he must pay it back.' 

' I understand, sir : I'm quite agreeable to that.' 

' Meantime, there's a few shillings for you, Grace, just to 
keep the pot boiling till custom comes. Now, bairns, stand 
up in a row and say your catechism, while your mother goes 
and buys some dinner : for you've not had much to-day, I'll 
be bound. You begin, Ben. What is your name ? ' 

Mr. Hall stayed till Grace came back ; then he hastily 
took his leave, shaking hands with both Farren and his wife: 
just at the door, he said to them a few brief but very 
earnest words of religious consolation and exhortation : with 
a mutual ' God bless you, sir ! ' ' God bless you, my friends ! ' 
they separated. 



MESSRS. HELSTONE AND SYKES began to be extremely jocose 
and congratulatory with Mr. Moore when he returned to 
them after dismissing the deputation; he was so quiet, 
however, under their compliments upon his firmness, &c., 
and wore a countenance so like a still dark day, equally 
beamless and breezeless, that the Eector, after glancing 
shrewdly into his eyes, buttoned up his felicitations with his 
coat, and said to Sykes, whose senses were not acute 
enough to enable him to discover unassisted where his 
presence and conversation were a nuisance : ' Come, sir : 
your road and mine lie partly together : had we not better 
bear each other company ? We'll bid Moore good-morning, 
and leave him to the happy fancies he seems disposed to 

1 And where is Sugden ? ' demanded Moore, looking up. 

' Ah, ha ! ' cried Helstone. ' I've not been quite idle 
while you were busy. I've been helping you a little : I 
flatter myself, not injudiciously. I thought it better not to 
lose time ; so, while you were parleying with that down- 
looking gentleman Fan-en I think his name is, I opened 
this back window, shouted to Murgatroyd, who was in the 
stable, to bring Mr. Sykes's gig round; then I smuggled 
Sugden and brother Moses wooden leg and all through 
the aperture, and saw them mount the gig (always with our 


good friend Sykes's permission, of course). Sugden took the 
reins he drives like Jehu, and in another quarter of an 
hour, Barraclough will be safe in Stilbro' jail.' 

' Very good : thank you,' said Moore, ' and good-morning, 
gentlemen,' he added, and so politely conducted them to the 
door and saw them clear of his premises. 

He was a taciturn, serious man the rest of the day : he 
did not even bandy a repartee with Joe Scott ; who, for his 
part, said to his master only just what was absolutely 
necessary to the progress of business, but looked at him a 
good deal out of the corners of his eyes, frequently came to 
poke the counting-house fire for him, and once, as he was 
locking up for the day (the mill was then working short 
time, owing to the slackness of trade), observed that it was 
a grand evening, and he ' could wish Mr. Moore to take a 
bit of a walk up th' Hollow ; it would do him good.' 

At this recommendation, Mr. Moore burst into a short 
laugh, and after demanding of Joe what all this solicitude 
meant, and whether he took him for a woman or a child, 
seized the keys from his hand, and shoved him by the 
shoulders out of his presence. He called him back, however, 
ere he reached the yard-gate. 

1 Joe, do you know those Farrens ? They are not well 
off, 1 suppose ? ' 

' They cannot be well off, sir, when they've not had work 
as a three month. Ye'd see yoursel' 'at William's sorely 
changed, fair pared : they've selled most o' t' stuff out o' 
th' house.' 

' He was not a bad workman ? ' 

1 Ye never had a better, sir, sin' ye began trade.' 

' And decent people the whole family ? ' 

' Niver dacenter : th' wife's a raight cant body, and as 

clean ! ye mught eat your porridge off th' house floor : 

they're sorely corned down. I wish William could get a job 
as gardener or summat i' that way ; he understands garden- 
ing weel. He once lived wi' a Scotchman that tached him 
the mysteries o' that craft, as they say.' 


1 Now, then, you can go, Joe ; you need not stand there 
staring at me.' 

' Ye've no orders to give, sir ? ' 

1 None, but for you to take yourself off/ 

Which Joe did accordingly. 

Spring evenings are often cold and raw, and though this 
had been a fine day, warm even in the morning and meridian 
sunshine, the air chilled at sunset, the ground crisped, and 
ere dusk a hoar frost was insidiously stealing over growing 
grass and unfolding bud. It whitened the pavement in front 
of Briarmains (Mr. Yorke's residence), and made silent 
havoc among the tender plants in his garden, and on the 
mossy level of his lawn. As to that great tree, strong- 
trunked and broad-armed, which guarded the gable nearest 
the road, it seemed to defy a spring-night frost to harm its 
still bare boughs ; and so did the leafless grove of walnut- 
trees rising tall behind the house. 

In the dusk of the moonless if starry night, lights from 
windows shone vividly : this was no dark or lonely scene, 
nor even a silent one. Briarmains stood near the highway ; 
it was rather an old place, and had been built ere that high- 
way was cut, and when a lane winding up through fields 
was the only path conducting to it. Briarfield lay scarce a 
mile off ; its hum was heard, its glare distinctly seen. 
Briar-chapel, a large, new, raw, Wesleyan place of worship, 
rose but a hundred yards distant ; and, as there was even 
now a prayer-meeting being held within its walls, the 
illumination of its windows cast a bright reflection on the 
road, while a hymn of a most extraordinary description, 
such as a very Quaker might feel himself moved by the 
spirit to dance to, roused cheerily all the echoes of the 
vicinage. The words were distinctly audible by snatches : 
here is a quotation or two from different strains; for the 
singers passed jauntily from hymn to hymn and from tune 
to tune, with an ease and buoyancy all their own : 


Oh I who can explain 

This struggle for life, 
This travail and pain, 

This trembling and strife ? 
Plague, earthquake, and famine, 

And tumult and war, 
The wonderful coming 

Of Jesus declare ! 

For every fight 

Is dreadful and loud, 
The warrior's delight 

Is slaughter and blood ; 
His foes overturning, 

Till all shall expire, 
And this is with burning, 

And fuel, and fire ! 

Here followed an interval of clamorous prayer, accom- 
panied by fearful groans. A shout of ' I've found liberty ! ' 
' Doad o' Bill's has fun' liberty ! ' rang from the chapel, and 
out all the assembly broke again : 

What a mercy is this ! 

What a heaven of bliss ! 
How unspeakably happy am I ! 

Gather'd into the fold, 

With thy people enroll'd, 
With thy people to live and to die ! 

Oh, the goodness of God 

In employing a clod 
His tribute of glory to raise ; 

His standard to bear, 

And with triumph declare 
His unspeakable riches of grace ! 

Oh, the fathomless love, 

That has deign'd to approve 
And prosper the work of my hands ; 

With my pastoral crook, 

I went over the brook, 
And behold I am spread into bands ! 

150 SH1KLM 

Who, I ask in amaze, 

Hath begotten me these ? 
And inquire from what quarter they came ; 

My full heart it replies, 

They are born from the skies, 
And gives glory to God and the Lamb ! 

The stanza which followed this, after another and longer 
interregnum of shouts, yells, ejaculations, frantic cries, 
agonized groans, seemed to cap the climax of noise and 

zeal : 

Sleeping on the brink of sin, 
Tophet gaped to take us in ; 
Mercy to our rescue flew, 
Broke the snare, and brought us through. 

Here, as in a lion's den, 
Undevour'd we still remain ; 
Pass secure the watery flood, 
Hanging on the arm of God. 


(Terrible, most distracting to the ear was the strained 
shout in which the last stanza was given.) 

Here we raise our voices higher, 
Shout in the refiner's fire ; 
Clap our hands amidst the flame, 
Glory give to Jesus' name ! 

The roof of the chapel did not fly off; which speaks 
volumes in praise of its solid slating. 

But if Briar-chapel seemed alive, so also did Briarmains : 
though certainly the mansion appeared to enjoy a quieter 
phase of existence than the temple ; some of its windows 
too were aglow : the lower casements opened upon the 
lawn, curtains concealed the interior, and partly obscured 
the ray of the candles which lit it, but they did not entirely 
muffle the sound of voice and laughter. We are privileged 
to enter that front-door, and to penetrate to the domestic 


It is not the presence of company which makes Mr. 
Yorke's habitation lively, for there is none within it save his 
own family, and they are assembled in that farthest room to 
the right, the back parlour. 

This is the usual sitting-room of an evening. Those 
windows would be seen by daylight to be of brilliantly- 
stained glass purple and amber the predominant hues, 
glittering round a gravely- tinted medallion in the centre of 
each, representing the suave head of William Shakspeare, 
and the serene one of John Milton. Some Canadian views 
hang on the walls green forest and blue water scenery 
and in the midst of them blazes a night-eruption of 
Vesuvius ; very ardently it glows, contrasted with the cool 
foam and azure of cataracts, and the dusky depths of woods. 

The fire illuminating this room, reader, is such as, if you 
be a southern, you do not often see burning on the hearth of 
a private apartment ; it is a clear, hot, coal fire, heaped 
high in the ample chimney. Mr. Yorke will have such fh-es 
even in warm summer weather : he sits beside it with a 
book in his hand, a little round stand at his elbow support- 
ing a candle but he is not reading, he is watching his 
children. Opposite to him sits his lady a personage whom 
I might describe minutely, but I feel no vocation to the task. 
I see her, though, very plainly before me : a large woman 
of the gravest aspect, care on her front and on her shoulders 
but not overwhelming, inevitable care rather the sort of 
voluntary, exemplary cloud and burden people ever carry 
who deem it their duty to be gloomy. Ah, woll-a-day ! Mrs. 
Yorke had that notion, and grave as Saturn she was, 
morning, noon, and night ; and hard things she thought of 
any unhappy wight especially of the female sex who 
dared in her presence to show the light of a gay heart on a 
sunny countenance. In her estimation, to be mirthful was 
to be profane ; to be cheerful was to be frivolous : she drew 
no distinctions. Yet she was a very good wife, a very 
careful mother, looked after her children unceasingly, was 
sincerely attached 10 her husband ; only, the wor^t of it was, 


if she could have had her will, she would not have permitted 
him to have any friend in the world beside herself : all his 
relations were insupportable to her, and she kept them at 
arm's length. 

Mr. Yorke and she agreed perfectly well ; yet he was 
naturally a social, hospitable man an advocate for family 
unity and in his youth, as has been said, he liked none but 
lively, cheerful women. Why he chose her how they 
contrived to suit each other, is a problem puzzling enough, 
but which might soon be solved if one had time to go into 
the analysis of the case. Suffice it here to say, that Yorke 
had a shadowy as well as a sunny side to his character, and 
that his shadowy side found sympathy and affinity in the 
whole of his wife's uniformly overcast nature. For the rest, 
she was a strong-minded woman ; never said a weak or 
a trite thing ; took stern, democratic views of society, and 
rather cynical ones of human nature ; considered herself 
perfect and safe, and the rest of the world all wrong. Her 
main fault was a brooding, eternal, immitigable suspicion of 
all men, things, creeds, and parties : this suspicion was a 
mist before her eyes, a false guide in her path, wherever she, 
looked, wherever she turned. 

It may be supposed that the children of such a pair were 
not likely to turn out quite ordinary, common-place beings ; 
and they were not. You see six of them, reader : the 
youngest is a baby on the mother's knee ; it is all her own 
yet and that one she has not yet begun to doubt, suspect, 
condemn ; it derives its sustenance from her, it hangs on 
her, it clings to her, it loves her above everything else in the 
world : she is sure of that, because, as it lives by her, it 
cannot be otherwise, therefore she loves it. 

The next two are girls, Rose and Jessie : they are both 
now at their father's knee ; they seldom go near their 
mother, except when obliged to do so. Rose, the elder, ia 
twelve years old ; she is like her father the most like him 
of the whole group but it is a granite head copied in ivory ; 
all is softened in colour and Iin6. Yorke himself has a 


harsh face ; his daughter's is not harsh, neither is it quite 
pretty ; it is simple childlike in feature ; the round cheeks 
bloom : as to the gray eyes, they are otherwise than child- 
like a serious soul lights them a young soul yet, but it 
will mature, if the body lives ; aud neither father nor 
mother have a spirit to compare with it. Partaking of the 
essence of each, it will one day be better than either 
stronger, much purer, more aspiring. Eose is a still, and 
sometimes a stubborn girl now : her mother wants to make 
of her such a woman as she is herself a woman of dark 
and dreary duties and Eose has a mind full-set, thick- 
sown with the germs of ideas her mother never knew. It 
is agony to her often to have these ideas trampled on and 
repressed. She has never rebelled yet ; but if hard driven, 
she will rebel one day, and then it will be once for all. 
Eose loves her father : her father does not rule her with a 
rod of iron ; he is good to her. He sometimes fears she will 
not live, so bright are the sparks of intelligence which, at 
moments, flash from her glance, and gleam in her language. 
This idea makes him often sadly tender to her. 

He has no idea that little Jessie will die young, she is so 
gay and chattering, arch original even now : passionate 
when provoked, but most affectionate if caressed ; by turns 
genfcle and rattling ; exacting yet generous ; fearless of her 
mother, for instance, whose irrationally hard and strict rule 
she has often defied yet reliant on any who will help her. 
Jessie, with her little piquant face, engaging prattle, and 
winning ways, is made to be a pet ; and her father's pet she 
accordingly is. It is odd that the doll should resemble her 
mother feature by feature, as Eose resembles her father, 
and yet the physiognomy how different ! 

Mr. Yorke, if a magic mirror were now held before you, 
and if therein were shown you your two daughters as they 
will be twenty years from this night, what would you 
think ? The magic mirror is here : you shall learn their 
destinies and first that of your little life, Jessie. 

Do you know this place? No, you never saw it ; but 


you recognise the nature of these trees, this foliage the 
cypress, the willow, the yew. Stone crosses like these are 
not unfamiliar to you, nor are these dim garlands of ever- 
lasting flowers. Here is the place ; gresn sod and a gray 
marble headstone Jessie sleeps below. She lived through 
an April day ; much loved was she, much loving. She 
often, in her brief life, shed tears, she had frequent sorrows ; 
she smiled between, gladdening whatever saw her. Her 
death was tranquil and happy in Rose's guardian arms, for 
Eose had been her stay and defence through many trials : 
the dying and the watching English girls were at that hour 
alone in a foreign country, and the soil of that country gave 
Jessie a grave. 

Now, behold Eose, two years later. The crosses and 
garlands looked strange, but the hills and woods of this 
landscape look still stranger. This, indeed, is far from 
England ; remote must be the shores which wear that wild, 
luxuriant aspect. This is some virgin solitude : unknown 
birds flutter round the skirts of that forest ; no European 
river this, on whose banks Eose sits thinking. The little 
quiet Yorkshire girl is a lonely emigrant in some region of 
the southern hemisphere. Will she ever come back ? 

The three eldest of the family are all boys : Matthew, 
Mark, and Martin. They are seated together in that corner, 
engaged in some game. Observe their three heads : much 
alike at a first glance ; at a second, different ; at a third, 
contrasted. Dark-haired, dark-eyed, red-cheeked, are the 
whole trio ; small English features they all possess ; all own 
a blended resemblance to sire and mother, and yet a distinc- 
tive physiognomy, mark of a separate character, belongs to 

I shall not say much about Matthew, the first-born of 
the house ; though it is impossible to avoid gazing at him 
long, and conjecturing what qualities that visage hides or 
indie. ites. He is no plain-looking boy : that jet-black hair, 
white brow, high-coloured cheek, those quick, dark eyes, are 
good points iu their way. How is it that, look as long as 


you will, there is but one object in the room, and that the 
most sinister, to which Matthew's face seems to bear an 
affinity, and of which, ever and anon, it reminds you 
strangely the eruption of Vesuvius. Flame and shadow 
seem the component parts of that lad's soul : no daylight in 
it, and no sunshine, and no pure, cool moonbeam ever shone 
there. He has an English frame, but, apparently, not an 
English mind : you would say, an Italian stiletto in a 
sheath of British workmanship. He is crossed in the game 
look at his scowl. Mr. Yorke sees it, and what does he 
say ? In a low voice, he pleads : ' Mark and Martin, don't 
auger your brother." And this is ever the tone adopted by 
both parents. Theoretically, they decry partiality ; no 
rights of primogeniture are to be allowed in that house ; but 
Matthew is never to be vexed, never to be opposed : they 
avert provocation from him as assiduously as they would 
avert fire from a barrel of gunpowder. ' Concede, con- 
ciliate,' is their motto wherever he is concerned. The 
republicans are fast making a tyrant of their own flesh and 
blood. This the younger scions know and feel, and at heart 
they all rebel against the injustice : they cannot read their 
parents' motives ; they only see the difference of treatment. 
The dragon's teeth are already sown amongst Mr. Yorke's 
young olive branches : discord will one day be the harvest. 
Mark is a bonnie -looking boy, the most regular-featured 
of the family ; he is exceedingly calm ; his smile is 
shrewd ; he can say the driest, most cutting things in the 
quietest of tones. Despite his tranquillity, a somewhat 
heavy brow speaks temper, and reminds you that the 
smoothest waters are not always the safest. Besides, he is 
too still, unmoved, phlegmatic, to be happy. Life will never 
have much joy in it for Mark : by the time he is five-aud- 
twenty, he will wonder why people ever laugh, and think all 
fools who seem merry. Poetry will not exist for Mark, 
either in literature or in life ; its best effusions will sound to 
him mere rant and jargon : enthusiasm will be his aversion 
and contempt. Mark will have no youth : while he looks 


juvenile and blooming, he will be already middle-aged in 
inind. His body is now fourteen years of age, but his soul 
is already thirty. 

Martin, the youngest of the three, owns another nature. 
Life may, or may not, be brief for him : but it will certainly 
be brilliant : he will pass through all its illusions, half 
believe in them, wholly enjoy them, then outlive them. 
That boy is not handsome not so handsome as either of 
his brothers : he is plain ; there is a husk upon him, a dry 
shell, and he will wear it till he is near twenty ; then he 
will put it off: about that period, he will make himself 
handsome. He will wear uncouth manners till that age, 
perhaps homely garments ; but the chrysalis will retain the 
power of transfiguring itself into the butterfly, and such 
transfiguration will, in due season, take place. For a space 
he will be vain, probably a downright puppy, eager for 
pleasure and desirous of admiration ; athirst, too, for know- 
ledge. He will want all that the world can give him, both 
of enjoyment and lore ; he will, perhaps, take deep draughts 
at each fount. That thirst satisfied what next ? I know 
not. Martin might be a remarkable man : whether he will 
or not, the seer is powerless to predict : on that subject, 
thore has been no open vision. 

Take Mr. Yorke's family in the aggregate, there is as 
much mental power in those six young heads, as much 
originality, as much activity and vigour of brain, as divided 
amongst half a dozen common-place broods would give to 
each rather more than an average amount of sense and 
capacity. Mr. Yorke knows this, and is proud of his race. 
Yorkshire has such families here and there amongst her hills 
and wolds peculiar, racy, vigorous ; of good blood and 
strong brain ; turbulent somewhat in the piide of their 
strength, and intractable in the force of their native powers; 
wanting polish, wanting consideration, wanting docility, 
hut sound, spirited, and true-bred as the eagle on the cliff or 
the steed in the steppe. 

A low tap is heard at the parlour door ; the boys have 


been making such a noise over their game, and little Jessie, 
besides, has been singing so sweet a Scotch song to her 
father who delights in Scotch and Italian songs, and has 
taught his musical little daughter some of the best that the 
ring at the outer door was not observed. 

' Come in ! ' says Mrs. Yorke, in that conscientiously con- 
strained and solemnized voice of hers, which ever modulates 
itself to a funereal dreariness of tone, though the subject it 
is exercised upon be but to give orders for the making of a 
pudding in the kitchen, to bid the boys hang up their caps 
in the hall, or to call the girls to their sewing : ' Come in ! ' 
And in came Eobert Moore. 

Moore's habitual gravity, as well as his abstemiousness 
(for the case of spirit-decanters is never ordered up when he 
pays an evening visit), has so far recommended him to Mrs. 
Yorke, that she has not yet made him the subject of private 
animadversions with her husband : she has not yet found 
out that he is hampered by a secret intrigue which prevents 
him from marrying, or that he is a wolf in sheep's clothing ; 
discoveries which she made at an early date after marriage 
concerning most of her husband's bachelor friends, and 
excluded them from her board accordingly ; which part of 
her conduct, indeed, might be said to have its just and 
sensible, as well as its harsh side. 

' Well, is it you ? ' she says to Mr. Moore, as he comes 
up to her and gives his hand. ' What are you roving about 
at this time of night for? You should be at home.' 

1 Can a single man be said to have a home, madam ? ' he 

1 Pooh ! ' says Mrs. Yorke, who despises conventional 
smoothness quite as much as her husband does, and practises 
it as little, and whose plain speaking, on all occasions, is 
carried to a point calculated, sometimes, to awaken admira- 
tion, but oftener alarm ' Pooh ! you need not talk nonsense 
to me ; a single man can have a home if he likes. Pray, 
does not your sister make a home for you ? ' 

' Not she,' joined in Mr. Yorke. ' Hortense is an honest 


lass ; but when I was Eobert's age, I had five or six sisters, 
all as decent and proper as she is ; but you see, Hesther, for 
all that, it did not hinder me from looking out for a wife.' 

' And sorely he has repented marrying me,' added Mrs. 
Yorke, who liked occasionally to crack a dry jest against 
matrimony, even though it should be at her own expense. 
' He has repented it in sackcloth and ashes, Eobert Moore, 
as you may well believe when you see his punishment, 
(here she pointed to her children). ' Who would burden 
themselves with such a set of great, rough lads, as those, if 
they could help it ? It is not only bringing them into the 
world, though that is bad enough, but they are all to feed, 
to clothe, to rear, to settle in life. Young sir, when you feel 
tempted to marry, think of our four sons and two daughters, 
and look twice before you leap." 

' I am not tempted now, at any rate : I think these are 
not times for marrying or giving in marriage.' 

A lugubrious sentiment of this sort was sure to obtain 
Mrs. Yorke's approbation : she nodded and groaned 
acquiescence ; but in a minute she said : ' I make little 
account of the wisdon of a Solomon of your age ; it will be 
upset by the first fancy that crosses you. Meantime, sit 
down, sir : you can talk, I suppose, as well sitting as 
standing ? ' 

This was her way of inviting her guest to take a chair : 
he had no sooner obeyed her, than little Jessie jumped from 
her father's knee, and ran into Mr. Moore's arms, which 
were very promptly held out to receive her. 

' You talk of marrying him,' said she to her mother, quite 
indignantly, as she was lifted lightly to his knee, ' and he is 
married now, or as good : he promised that I should be his 
wife last summer, the first time he saw me in my new white 
frock and blue sash. Didn't he, father?' (These children 
were not accustomed to say papa and mamma ; their mother 
would allow no such ' namby-pamby.') 

1 Ay, my little lassie, he promised ; I'll bear witness. 


But make him say it over again now, Jessie : such as he are 
only false loons.' 

' He is not false : he is too bonnie to be false/ said 
Jessie, looking up to her tall sweetheart with the fullest con- 
fidence in his faith. 

' Bonnie ! ' cried Mr. Yorke ; ' that's the reason that he 
should be, and proof that he is a scoundrel.' 

' But he looks too sorrowful to be false,' here interposed a 
quiet voice from behind the father's chair. ' If he were 
always laughing, I should think he forgot promises soon, 
but Mr. Moore never laughs.' 

' Your sentimental buck is the greatest cheat of all, Rose,' 
remarked Mr. Yorke. 

' He's not sentimental,' said Rose. 

Mr. Moore turned to her with a little surprise, smiling 
at the same time. 

1 How do you know I am not sentimental, Rose ? ' 

' Because I heard a lady say you were not.' 

'Voila, qui devient inte'ressant ! ' exclaimed Mr. Yorke, 
hitching his chair nearer the fire. ' A lady ! That has quite 
a romantic twang : we must guess who it is. Rosy, whisper 
the name low to your father : don't let him hear.' 

1 Rose, don't be too forward to talk,' here interrupted Mrs. 
Yorke, in her usual kill-joy fashion ; ' nor Jessie either : it 
becomes all children, especially girls, to be silent in the 
presence of their elders. 1 

' Why have we tongues, then ? ' asked Jessie, pertly ; 
while Rose only looked at her mother with an expression 
that seemed to say, she should take that maxim in, and 
think it over at her leisure. After two minutes' grave 
deliberation, she asked, ' And why especially girls, mother ? ' 

' Firstly, because I say so : and, secondly, because discre- 
tion and reserve is a girl's best wisdom.' 

' My dear madam,' observed Moore, ' what you say 
is excellent : it reminds me, indeed, of my dear sister's 
observations ; but really it is not applicable to these little 


ones. Let Rose and Jessie talk to me freely, or my chief 
pleasure in coming here is gone. I like their prattle : it 
does me good.' 

' Does it not ? ' asked Jessie. ' More good than if the 
rough lads came round you : you call them rough, mother, 

1 Yes, mignonne, a thousand times more good : I have 
rough lads enough about me all day long, poulet.' 

' There are plenty of people,' continued she, ' who take 
notice of the boys : all my uncles and aunts seem to think 
their nephews better than their nieces ; and when gentlemen 
come here to dine, it is always Matthew, and Mark, and 
Martin, that are talked to, and never Rose and me. Mr. 
Moore is our friend, and we'll keep him : but mind, Rose, 
he's not so much your friend as he is mine : he is my 
particular acquaintance ; remember that ! ' And she held 
up her small hand with an admonitory gesture. 

Rose was quite accustomed to be admonished by that 
small hand ; her will daily bent itself to that of the impe- 
tuous little Jessie : she was guided overruled by Jessie in a 
thousand things. On all occasions of show and pleasure, 
Jessie took the lead, and Rose fell quietly into the back- 
ground ; whereas, when the disagreeables of life its work 
and privations were in question, Rose instinctively took upon 
her, in addition to her own share, what she could of her 
sister's. Jessie had already settled it in her mind that she, 
when she was old enough, was to be married ; Rose, she 
decided, must be an old maid, to live with her, look after 
her children, keep her house. This state of things is not 
uncommon between two sisters, where one is plain and the 
other pretty ; but in this case, if there was a difference in 
external appearance, Rose had the advantage : her face was 
more regular-featured than that of the piquant little Jessie. 
Jessie, however, was destined to possess, along with sprightly 
intelligence and vivacious feeling, the gift of fascination, the 
power to charm when, where, and whom she would. Rose 
was to ha,ve a fine, generous soul, a noble intellect profoundly 


cultivated, a heart as true as steel, but the manner to attract 
was not to be hers. 

4 Now, Rose, tell me the name of this lady who denied 
that I was sentimental,' urged Mr. Moore. 

Rose had no idea of tantalization, or she would have 
held him a while in doubt ; she answered, briefly : ' I can't : 
I don't know her name.' 

4 Describe her to me : what was she like ? Where did 
you see her ? ' 

' When Jessie and I went to spend the day at Whinbury 
with Kate and Susan Pearson, who were just come home 
from school, there was a party at Mrs. Pearson's, and some 
grown-up ladies were sitting in a corner of the drawing-room 
talking about you.' 

' Did you know none of them ? ' 

' Hannah, and Harriet, and Dora, and Mary Sykes.' 

4 Good. Were they abusing me, Rosy ? ' 

' Some of them were : they called you a misanthrope : I 
remember the word I looked for it in the dictionary when 
I came home : it means a man-hater.' 

' What besides ? ' 

' Hannah Sykes said you were a solemn puppy.' 

' Better ! ' cried Mr. Yorke, laughing. ' Oh ! excellent 1 
Hannah that's the one with the red hair : a fine girl, but 

4 She has wit enough for me, it appears,' said Moore. ' A 
solemn puppy, indeed ! Well, Rose, go on.' 

' Miss Pearson said she believed there was a good deal of 
affectation about you, and that with your dark hair and pale 
face, you looked to her like some sort of a sentimental 

Again Mr. Yorke laughed : Mrs. Yorke even joined in 
this time. ' You see in what esteem you are held behind 
your back,' said she ; ' yet I believe that Miss Pearson would 
like to catch you : she set her cap at you when you first 
came into the country, old as she is.' 

4 And who contradicted her, Rosy ? ' inquired Moore. 


' A lady whom I don't know, because she never visits 
here, though I see her every Sunday at church ; she sits in 
the pew near the pulpit. I generally look at her, instead of 
looking at my prayer-book ; for she is like a picture in our 
dining-room, that woman with the dove in her hand: at 
least she has eyes like it, and a nose too, a straight nose, 
that makes all her face look, somehow, what I call clear.' 

' And you don't know her ! ' exclaimed Jessie, in a tone 
of exceeding surprise. ' That's so like Eose. Mr. Moore, I 
often wonder in what sort of a world my sister lives ; I am 
sure she does not live all her time in this : one is continually 
finding out that she is quite ignorant of some little matter 
which everybody else knows. To think of her going 
solemnly to church every Sunday, and looking all service- 
time at one particular person, and never so much as asking 
that person's name ! She means Caroline Helstone, the 
Rector's niece : I remember all about it. Miss Helstone 
was quite angry with Anne Pearson : she said, " Robert 
Mooi'e is neither affected nor sentimental ; you mistake his 
character utterly, or rather not one of you here knows any- 
thing about it." Now, shall I tell you what she is like ? I 
can tell what people are like, and how they are dressed, 
better than Rose can.' 

' Let us hear.' 

' She is nice ; she is fair ; she has a pretty white slender 
thi-oat ; she has long curls, not stiff ones, they hang loose 
and soft, their colour is brown but not dark ; she speaks 
quietly, with a clear tone ; she never makes a bustle in 
moving ; she often wears a gray silk dress ; she is neat all 
over : her gowns, and her shoes, and her gloves always fit 
her. She is what I call a lady, and when I am as tall as 
she is, I mean to bo like her. Shall I suit you if I am ? 
Will you really marry me ? ' 

Moore stroked Jessie's hair : for a minute he seemed as 
if he would draw her nearer to him, but instead he put her 
a little farther off. 

' Oh ! you won't have me ? You push me away.' 


I Why, Jessie, you care nothing about me : you never 
come to see me now at the Hollow.' 

' Because you don't ask me.' 

Hereupon, Mr. Moore gave both the little girls an invita- 
tion to pay him a visit next day, promising that, as he was 
going to Stilbro' in the morning, he would buy them each a 
present, of what nature he would not then declare, but they 
must come and see. Jessie was about to reply, when one of 
the boys unexpectedly broke in : 

I 1 know that Miss Helstone you have all been palavering 
about : she's an ugly girl. I hate her ! I hate all women- 
ites. I wonder what they were made for.' 

' Martin ! ' said his father for Martin it was the lad 
only answered by turning his cynical young face, half-arch, 
half-truculent, towards the paternal chair. ' Martin, my 
lad, thou'rt a swaggering whelp, now ; thou wilt some day 
be an outrageous puppy : but stick to those sentiments of 
thine. See, I'll write down the words now i' my pocket- 
book.' (The senior took out a morocco-covered book, and 
deliberately wrote therein.) ' Ten years hence, Martin, if 
thou and I be both alive at that day, I'll remind thee of that 

' I'll say the same then : I mean always to hate women : 
they're such dolls : they do nothing but dress themselves 
finely, and go swimming about to be admired. I'll never 
marry : I'll be a bachelor.' 

' Stick to it ! stick to it ! Hesther ' (addressing his wife), 
' I was like him when I was his age, a regular misogamist ; 
and, behold ! by the time I was three -and-t wen ty being 
then a tourist in France and Italy, and the Lord knows 
where ! I curled my hair every night before I went to bed, 
and wore a ring i' my car, and would have worn one i' my 
nose if it had been the fashion and all that I might make 
mysel' pleasing and charming to the ladies. Martin will do 
the like.' 

' Will I? Never ! I've more sense. What a Guy you 
were, father ! As to dressing, I make this vow : I'll never 



dress more finely than as you see me at present. Mr. 
Moore, I'm clad in blue cloth from top to toe, and they 
laugh at me, and call me a sailor at the grammar-school. I 
laugh louder at them, and say they are all magpies and 
parrots, with their coats one colour, and their waistcoats 
another, and their trousers a third. I'll always wear blue 
cloth, and nothing but blue cloth : it is beneath a human 
being's dignity to dress himself in particoloured garments.' 

1 Ten years hence, Martin, no tailor's shop will have 
choice of colours varied enough for thy exacting taste ; no 
perfumer's stores essences exquisite enough for thy fastidious 

Martin looked disdain, but vouchsafed no further reply. 
Meantime Mark, who for some minutes had been rummaging 
amongst a pile of books on a side-table, took the word. He 
spoke in a peculiarly slow, quiet voice, and with an expres- 
sion of still irony in his face not easy to describe. 

' Mr. Moore,' said he, ' you think perhaps it was a com- 
pliment on Miss Caroline Helstone's part to say you were 
not sentimental. I thought you appeared confused when 
my sisters told you the words, as if you felt flattered : you 
turned red, just like a certain vain little lad at our school, 
who always thinks proper to blush when he gets a rise in 
the class. For your benefit, Mr. Moore, I've been looking 
up the word " sentimental " in the dictionary, and I find it 
to mean, " tinctured with sentiment." On examining 
further, " sentiment " is explained to be, thought, idea, 
notion. A sentimental man, then, is one who has thoughts, 
ideas, notions ; an unsentimental man is one destitute of 
thought, idea, or notion.' 

And Mark stopped : he did not smile, he did not look 
round for admiration : he had said his say, and was silent. 

' Ma foi ! mon ami,' observed Mr. Moore to Yorke ; ' ce 
sont vraiment des enfants terribles, que les votres ! ' 

Rose, who had been listening attentively to Mark's 
speech, replied to him : ' There are different kinds of 
thoughts, ideas, and notions,' said she, 'good and bad: 


sentimental must refer to the bad, or Miss Helstone must 
have taken it in that sense, for she was not blaming Mr. 
Moore ; she was defending him.' 

' That's my kind little advocate, ' said Moore, taking 
Eose's hand. 

' She was defending him,' repeated Eose, ' as I should 
have done had I been in her place, for the other ladies seemed 
to speak spitefully.' 

' Ladies always do speak spitefully,' observed Martin ; 
' it is the nature of womenites to be spiteful.' 

Matthew now, for the first time, opened his lips : ' What 
a fool Martin is, to be always gabbling about what he does 
not understand.' 

' It is my privilege, as a freeman, to gabble on whatever 
subject I like,' responded Martin. 

' You use it, or rather abuse it, to such an extent,' 
rejoined the elder brother, 'that you prove you ought to have 
been a slave.' 

' A slave ! a slave ! That to a Yorke, and from a Yorke ! 
This fellow,' he added, standing up at the table, and pointing 
across it to Matthew ' this fellow forgets, what every 
cottier in Briarfield knows, that all born of our house have 
that arched instep under which water can flow proof that 
there has not been a slave of the blood for three hundred 

' Mountebank ! ' said Matthew. 

' Lads, be silent ! ' exclaimed Mr. Yorke. ' Martin, you 
are a mischief-maker : there would have been no disturbance 
but for you.' 

' Indeed ! Is that correct ? Did I begin, or did Matthew ? 
Had I spoken to him when he accused me of gabbling like a 
fool ? ' 

' A presumptuous fool ! ' repeated Matthew. 

Here Mrs. Yorke commenced rocking herself rather a 
portentous movement with her, as it was occasionally 
followed, especially when Matthew was worsted in a conflict, 
by a fit of hysterics, 


' I don't see why I should bear insolence from Matthew 
Yorke, or what right he has to use bad language to me,' 
observed Martin. 

' He has no right, my lad ; but forgive your brother until 
seventy and seven times,' said Mr. Yorke soothingly. 

' Always alike, and theory and practice always adverse 1 ' 
murmured Martin as he turned to leave the room. 

' Where art thou going, my son ? ' asked the father. 

' Somewhere where I shall be safe from insult : if in this 
house I can find any such place.' 

Matthew laughed very insolently : Martin threw a strange 
look at him, and trembled through all his slight lad's frame, 
but he restrained himself. 

' I suppose there is no objection to my withdrawing? ' he 

' No ; go, my lad : but remember not to bear malice.' 

Martin went, and Matthew sent another insolent laugh 
after him. Rose, lifting her fair head from Moore's shoulder, 
against which, for a moment, it had been resting, said, as she 
directed a steady gaze to Matthew ' Martin is grieved, and 
you are glad ; but I would rather be Martin than you : I 
dislike your nature.' 

Here Mr. Moore, by way of averting, or at least escaping 
a scene which a sob from Mrs. Yorke warned him was 
likely to come on rose, and putting Jessie off his knee, he 
kissed her and Rose ; reminding them, at the same time, to 
be sure and come to the Hollow in good time to-morrow 
afternoon : then, having taken leave of his hostess, he said to 
Mr. Yorke 'May I speak a word with you?' and was 
followed by him from the room. Their brief conference took 
place in the hall. 

' Have you employment for a good workman ? ' asked 

' A nonsense question in these times, when you know that 
every master has many good workmen to whom he cannot 
give full employment.' 

' You must oblige me by taking on this man, if possible.' 

BRiAfcMAlNS 167 

' My lad, I can take on no more hands to oblige all Eng- 

' It does not signify ; I must find him a place somewhere.' 
' Who is he ? ' 
1 William Farren.' 

' I know William ; a right-down honest man is William.' 
' He has been out of work three months ; he has a large 
family : we are sure they cannot live without wages : he was 
one of a deputation of cloth-dressers who came to me this 
morning to complain and threaten. William did not threaten: 
he only asked me to give thorn rather more time to make 
my changes more slowly. You know I cannot do that ; 
straitened on all sides as I am, I have nothing for it but 
to push on. I thought it would be idle to palaver long with 
them. I sent them away, after arresting a rascal amongst 
them, whom I hope to transport a fellow who preaches at 
the chapel yonder sometimes.' 
' Not Moses Barraclough ? ' 
' Yes.' 

1 Ah ! you've arrested him ? Good ! Then out of a 
scoundrel you're going to make a martyr : you've done a wise 

' I've done a right thing. Well, the short and the long of 
it is, I'm determined to get Farren a place, and I reckon on 
you to give him one.' 

' This is cool, however ! ' exclaimed Mr. Yorke. ' What 
right have you to reckon on me to provide for your dismissed 
workmen? What do I know about your Farren s and your 
Williams ? I've heard he's an honest man ; but am I to 
support all the honest men in Yorkshire ? You may say that 
would be no great charge to undertake ; but great or little, 
I'll none of it.' 

' Come, Mr. Yorkc, what can you find for him to do?' 
' I find ! You'll make me use language I'm not accus- 
tomed to use. I wish you would go home - here is the door 
set off.' 

Moore sat down on one of the hall chairs. 


1 You can't give him work in your mill good but you 
have land : find him some occupation on your land, Mr. 

I Bob, I thought you cared nothing about our " lourdauds 
de paysans " ? I don't understand this change.' 

I 1 do : the fellow spoke to me nothing but truth and 
sense. I answered him just as roughly as I did the rest, who 
jabbered mere gibberish. I couldn't make distinctions there 
and then : his appearance told what he had gone through 
lately, clearer than his words : but where is the use of ex- 
plaining ? Let him have work.' 

' Let him have it yourself. If you are so very much in 
earnest, strain a point." 

1 If there was a point left in my affairs to strain, I would 
strain it till it cracked again ; but I received letters this 
morning which show me pretty nearly where I stand, and it 
is not far off the end of the plank. My foreign market, at 
any rate, is gorged. If there is no change - if there dawns 
no prospect of peace if the Orders in Council are not, at least, 
suspended, so as to open our way in the West I do not know 
where I am to turn. I see no more light than if I were sealed 
in a rock ; so that for me to pretend to offer a man a livelihood 
would be to do a dishonest thing.' 

' Come, let us take a turn on the front : it is a starlight 
night,' said Mr. Yorke. 

They passed out, closing the front-door after them, 
and, side by side, paced the frost-white pavement to and 


' Settle about Parren at once,' urged Mr. Moore. ' You 
have large fruit-gardens at Yorke Mills : he is a good 
gardener : give him work there.' 

' Well, so be it. I'll send for him to-morrow, and we'll 
see. And now, my lad, you're concerned about the condition 
of your affairs ? ' 

' Yes : a second failure which I may delay, but which, 
at this moment, I see no way finally to avert would blight 
the name of Moore completely ; and you are aware I had fine 


intentions of paying off every debt, and re-establishing the 
old firm on its former basis.' 

' You want capital that's all you want.' 

' Yes ; but you might as well say that breath is all a dead 
man wants to live.' 

' I know I know capital is not to be had for the asking ; 
and if you were a married man, and had a family, like me, I 
should think your case pretty nigh desperate ; but the young 
and unencumbered have chances peculiar to themselves. I 
hear gossip now and then about your being on the eve of 
marriage with this miss and that ; but I suppose it is none 
of it true ? ' 

' You may well suppose that : I think I am not in a position 
to be dreaming of marriage. Marriage ! I cannot bear the 
word : it sounds so silly and Utopian. I have settled it 
decidedly that marriage and love are superfluities, intended 
only for the rich, who live at ease, and have no need to take 
thought for the morrow ; or desperations, the last and reck- 
less joy of the deeply wretched, who never hope to rise out of 
the slough of their utter povei'ty.' 

' I should not think so if I were circumstanced as you are : 
I should think I could very likely get a wife with a few thou- 
sands, who would suit both me and my affairs.' 

' I wonder where ? ' 

' Would you try, if you had a chance ? ' 

1 1 don't know : it depends on in short it depends on many 

' Would you take an old woman ? ' 

' I'd rather break stones on the road.' 

' So would I. Would you take an ugly one ? ' 

' Bah ! I hate ugliness and delight in beauty : my eyes 
and heart, Yorke, take pleasure in a sweet, young, fair face, 
as they are repelled by a grim, rugged, meagre one : soft 
delicate lines and hues please harsh ones prejudice me. I 
won't have an ugly wife.' 

' Not if she were rich ? ' 

' Not if she were dressed in gems. I could not love I 


could not fancy I could not endure her. My taste must 
have satisfaction, or disgust would break out in despotism 
or worse freeze to utter iciness.' 

' What, Bob, if you married an honest, good-natured, and 
wealthy lass, though a little hard-favoured, couldn't you put 
up with the high cheek-bones, the rather wide mouth, and 
reddish hair ? ' 

' I'll never try, I tell you. Grace at least I will have, and 
youth and symmetry yes, and what I call beauty.' 

' And poverty, and a nursery full of bairns you can neither 
clothe nor feed, and very soon an anxious faded mother- 
and then bankruptcy, discredit a life-long struggle.' 

' Let me alone, Yorke.' 

' If you are romantic, Eobert, and especially if you are 
already in love, it is of no use talking.' 

' I am not romantic. I am stript of romance as bare as 
the white tenters in that field are of cloth.' 

1 Always use such figures of speech, lad ; I can under- 
stand them : and there is no love-affair to disturb your 
judgment ? ' 

' I thought I had said enough on that subject before. 
Love for me ? Stuff ! ' 

' Well, then ; if you are sound both in heart and head, 
there is no reason why you should not profit by a good 
chance if it offers : therefore, wait and see.' 

' You are quite oracular, Yorke.' 

' I think I am a bit i' that line. I promise ye naught 
and I advise ye naught ; but I bid ye keep your heart up, 
and be guided by circumstances.' 

' My namesake the physician's almanack could not speak 
more guardedly.' 

1 In the meantime, I care naught about ye, Eobert 
Moore : ye are nothing akin to me or mine, and whether ye 
lose or find a fortune it mak's no difference to me. Go 
home, now : it has stricken ten. Miss IJortense will be 
wondering where ye are.' 



TIME wore on, and spring matured. The surface of England 
began to look pleasant : her fields grew green, her hills 
fresh, her gardens blooming ; but at heart she was no 
better : still her poor were wretched, still their employers 
were harassed : commerce, in sonic of its branches, seemed 
threatened with paralysis, for the war continued ; England's 
blood was shed and her wealth lavished : all, it seemed, to 
attain most inadequate ends. Some tidings there were 
indeed occasionally of successes in the Peninsula, but these 
came in slowly ; long intervals occurred between, in which 
no note was heard but the insolent self-felicitations of 
Bonaparte on his continued triumphs. Those who suffered 
from the results of the war felt this tedious, and as they 
thought hopeless, struggle against what their fears or their 
interests taught them to regard as an invincible power, most 
insufferable : they demanded peace on any terms : men like 
Yorke and Moore and there were thousands whom the war 
placed where it placed them, shuddering on the verge of 
bankruptcy insisted on peace with the energy of despera- 

They held meetings ; they made speeches ; they got up 
petitions to extort this boon : on what terms it was made 
they cared not. 

All men, taken singly, are more or less selfish ; and 
taken in bodies they are intensely so. The British merchant 
is no exception to this rule : the mercantile classes illustrate 


it strikingly. These classes certainly think too exclusively 
of making money : they are too oblivious of every national 
consideration but that of extending England's (i.e. their 
own) commerce. Chivalrous feeling, disinterestedness, pride 
in honour, is too dead in their hearts. A land ruled by 
them alone would too often make ignominious submission 
not at all from the motives Christ teaches, but rather from 
those Mammon instils. During the late war, the tradesmen 
of England would have endured buffets from the French on 
the right cheek and on the left ; their cloak they would 
have given to Napoleon, and then have politely offered him 
their coat also, nor would they have withheld their waist- 
coat if urged : they would have prayed permission only tp 
retain their one other garment, for the sake of the purse in 
its pocket. Not one spark of spirit, not one symptom of 
resistance would they have shown till the hand of the 
Corsican bandit had grasped that beloved purse ; then, 
perhaps, transfigured at once into British bull-dogs, they 
would have sprung at the robber's throat, and there they 
would have fastened, and there hung inveterate, insatiable, 
till the treasure had been restored. Tradesmen, when they 
speak against war, always profess to hate it because it is a 
bloody and barbarous proceeding : you would think, to hear 
them talk, that they are peculiarly civilised especially 
gentle and kindly of disposition to their fellow-men. This 
is not the case. Many of them are extremely narrow and 
cold-hearted, have no good feeling for any class but their 
own, are distant even hostile to all others ; call them 
useless ; seem to question their right to exist ; seem to 
grudge them the very air they breathe, and to think the 
cii'cumstance of their eating, drinking, and living in decent 
houses quite unjustifiable. They do not know what others 
do in the way of helping, pleasing, or teaching their race ; 
they will not trouble themselves to inquire ; whoever is not 
in trade, is accused of eating the bread of idleness, of passing 
a useless existence. Long may it be ere England really 
becomes a nation of shopkeepers ! 


We have already said that Moore was no self-sacrificing 
patriot, and we have also explained what circumstances 
rendered him specially prone to confine his attention and 
efforts to the furtherance of his individual interest ; accord- 
ingly, when he felt himself urged a second time to the brink 
of ruin, none struggled harder than he against the influences 
which would have thrust him over. What he could do 
towards stirring agitation in the north against the war, he 
did, and he instigated others whose money and connections 
gave them more power than he possessed. Sometimes, by 
flashes, he felt there was little reason in the demands his 
party made on Government : when he heard of all Europe 
threatened by Bonaparte, and of all Europe arming to resist 
him ; when he saw Eussia menaced, and beheld Russia 
rising, incensed and stern, to defend her frozen soil, her 
wild provinces of serfs, her dark native despotism, from the 
tread, the yoke, the tyranny of a foreign victor, he knew that 
England, a free realm, could not then depute her sons to 
make concessions and propose terms to the unjust, grasping 
French leader. When news came from time to time of the 
movements of that MAN then representing England in the 
Peninsula ; of his advance from success to success that 
advance so deliberate but so unswerving, so circumspect but 
so certain, so ' unhasting ' but so ' unresting ; ' when he 
read Lord Wellington's own despatches in the columns of 
the newspapers, documents written by Modesty to the 
dictation of Truth Moore confessed at heart that a power 
was with the troops of Britain, of that vigilant, enduring, 
genuine, unostentatious sort, which must win victory to the 
side it led, in the end. In the end ! but that end, he 
thought, was yet far off; and meantime he, Moore, as an 
individual, would be crushed, his hopes ground to dust : it 
was himself he had to care for, his hopes he had to pursue, 
and he would fulfil his destiny. 

He fulfilled it so vigorously, that ere long he came to a 
decisive rupture with his old Tory friend the Rector. They 
quarrelled at a public meeting, and afterwards exchanged 


some pungent letters in the newspapers. Mr. Helstone 
denounced Moore as a Jacobin, ceased to see him, would 
not even speak to him when they met : he intimated also to 
his niece, very distinctly, that her communications with 
Hollow's cottage must for the present cease : she must give 
up taking French lessons. The language, he observed, was 
a bad and frivolous one at the best, and most of the works it 
boasted were bad and frivolous, highly injurious in their 
tendency to weak female minds. He wondered (he remarked 
parenthetically) what noodle first made it the fashion to 
teach women French : nothing was more improper for 
them ; it was like feeding a rickety child on chalk and 
water-gruel ; Caroline must give it up, and give up her 
cousins too : they were dangerous people. 

Mr. Helstone quite expected opposition to this order : 
he expected tears. Seldom did he trouble himself about 
Caroline's movements, but a vague idea possessed him that 
she was fond of going to Hollow's cottage : also he 
suspected that she liked Kobert Moore's occasional presence 
at the Eectory. The Cossack had perceived that whereas 
if Malone stepped in of an evening to make himself sociable 
and charming, by pinching the ears of an aged black cat, 
which usually shared with Miss Helstone's feet the ac- 
commodation of her foot-stool, or by borrowing a fowling- 
piece, and banging away at a tool-shed door in the garden 
while enough of daylight remained to show that conspicuous 
mark keeping the passage and sitting-room doors mean- 
time uncomfortably open, for the convenience of running in 
and out to announce his failures and successes with noisy 
brusquerie he had observed that under such entertaining 
circumstances, Caroline had a trick of disappearing, tripping 
noiselessly up-stairs, and remaining invisible till called 
down to supper. On the other hand, when Kobert Moore 
was the guest, though he elicited no vivacities from the cat, 
did nothing to it, indeed, beyond occasionally coaxing it 
from the stool to his knee, and there letting it purr, climb to 
his shoulder and rub its head against his cheek ; though there 


was no ear-splitting cracking off of firearms, no diffusion of 
sulphurous gunpowder perfume, no noise, no boasting, during 
his stay, still Caroline sat in the room, and seemed to find 
wondrous content in the stitching of Jew-basket pin- 
cushions, and the knitting of Missionary-basket socks. 

She was very quiet, and Robert paid her little attention, 
scarcely ever addressing his discourse to her; but Mr. 
Helstone, not being one of those elderly gentlemen who are 
easily blinded ; on the contrary, finding himself on all occa- 
sions extremely wide-awake, had watched them when they 
bade each other good-night : he had just seen their eyes 
meet once only once. Some natures would have taken 
pleasure in the glance then surprised, because there was no 
harm and some delight in it. It was by no means a glance 
of mutual intelligence, for mutual love-secrets existed not 
between them : there was nothing then of craft and conceal- 
ment to offend ; only Mr. Moore's eyes, looking into 
Caroline's, felt they were clear and gentle, and Caroline's 
eyes encountering Mr. Moore's confessed they were manly 
and searching : each acknowledged the charm in his or her 
own way. Moore smiled slightly, and Caroline coloured as 
slightly. Mr. Helstone could, on the spot, have rated them 
both : they annoyed him : why ? impossible to say. If you 
had asked him what Moore merited at that moment, he 
would have said ' a horsewhip ; ' if you had inquired into 
Caroline's deserts, he would have adjudged her a box on the 
ear ; if you had further demanded the reason of such 
chastisements, he would have stormed against flirtation and 
love-making, and vowed he would have no such folly going 
on under his roof. 

These private considerations, combined with political 
reasons, fixed his resolution of separating the cousins. lie 
announced his will to Caroline one evening, as she was 
sitting at work near the drawing-room window : her face 
was turned towards him, and the light fell full upon it. It 
had struck him a few minutes before that she was looking 
paler and quieter than she used to look ; it had not escaped 


him either that Robert Moore's name had never, for some 
three weeks past, dropped from her lips ; nor during the 
same space of time had that personage made his appearance 
at the Eectory. Some suspicion of clandestine meetings 
haunted his mind; having but an indifferent opinion of 
women, he always suspected them : he thought they 
needed constant watching. It was in a tone dryly significant 
he desired her to cease her daily visits to the Hollow ; he 
expected a start, a look of deprecation : the start he saw, but 
it was a very slight one ; no look whatever was directed to 

' Do you hear me ? ' he asked. 

' Yes, uncle.' 

1 Of course, you mean to attend to what I say! : 

' Yes, certainly.' 

' And there must be no letter-scribbling to your cousin 
Hortense : no intercourse whatever. I do not approve of 
the principles of the family ; they are Jacobinical.' 

1 Very well,' said Caroline quietly. She acquiesced then : 
there was no vexed flushing of the face, no gathering tears : 
the shadowy thoughtfulness which had covered her features 
ere Mr. Helstone spoke remained undisturbed : she was 

Yes, perfectly ; because the mandate coincided with her 
own previous judgment ; because it was now become pain 
to her to go to Hollow's cottage ; nothing met her there but 
disappointment : hope and love had quitted that little tene- 
ment, for Robert seemed to have deserted its precincts. 
Whenever she asked after him which she very seldom did, 
since the mere utterance of his name made her face grow 
hot the answer was, he was from home, or he was quite 
taken up with business : Hortense feared he was killing 
himself by application : be scarcely ever took a meal in the 
house ; he lived in the counting-house. 

At church only Caroline had the chance of seeing him, 
and there she rarely looked at him : it was both too much 
pain and too much pleasure to look: it excited too much 


emotion ; and that it was all wasted emotion, she had learned 
well to comprehend. 

Once, on a dark, wet Sunday, when there were few people 
at church, and when especially certain ladies were absent, 
of whose observant faculties and tomahawk tongues Caroline 
stood in awe, she had allowed her eye to seek Eobert's pew, 
and to rest a while on its occupant. He was there alone : 
Hortense had been kept at home by prudent considerations 
relative to the rain and a new spring ' chapeau.' During 
the sermon, he sat with folded arms and eyes cast down, 
looking very sad and abstracted. When depressed, the very 
hue of his face seemed more dusk than when he smiled, and 
to-day cheek and forehead wore their most tintless and sober 
olive. By instinct Caroline knew, as she examined that 
clouded countenance, that his thoughts were running in no 
familiar or kindly channel ; that they were far away, not 
merely from her, but from all which she could comprehend, 
or in which she could sympathise. Nothing that they had 
ever talked of together was now in his mind : he was rapt 
from her by interests and responsibilities in which it was 
deemed such as she could have no part. 

Caroline meditated in her own way on the subject ; 
speculated on his feelings, on his life, on his fears, on his 
fate ; mused over the mystery of ' business,' tried to com- 
prehend more about it than had ever been told her to 
understand its perplexities, liabilities, duties, exactions ; 
endeavoured to realise the state of mind of a ' man of business,' 
to enter into it, feel what he would feel, aspire to what he 
would aspire to. Her earnest wish was to see things as 
they were, and not to be romantic. By dint of effort she 
contrived to get a glimpse of the light of truth here and 
there, and hoped that scant ray might suffice to guide her. 

' Different, indeed,' she concluded, ' is Robert's mental 
condition to mine : I think only of him ; he has no room, no 
leisure to think of me. The feeling called love is and lias 
been for two years the predominant emotion of my heart ; 
always there, always awalce, always astir : quite other feul- 


ings absorb his reflections, and govern his faculties. He is 
rising now, going to leave the church, for service is over. 
Will he turn his head towards this pew ? no not once 
he has not one look for me : that is hard : a kind glance 
would have made me happy till to-morrow ; I have not got 
it ; he would not give it ; he is gone. Strange that grief 
should now almost choke me, because another human being's 
eye has failed to greet mine.' 

That Sunday evening, Mr. Malone coming, as usual, to 
pass it with his Eector, Caroline withdrew after tea to her 
chamber. Fanny, knowing her habits, had lit her a cheerful 
little fire, as the weather was so gusty and chill. Closeted 
there, silent and solitary, what could she do but think ? She 
noiselessly paced to and fro the carpeted floor ; her head 
drooped, her hands folded : it was irksome to sit : the current 
of reflection ran rapidly through her mind : to-night she 
was mutely excited. 

Mute was the room, mute the house. The double-door 
of the study muffled the voices of the gentlemen : the 
servants were quiet in the kitchen, engaged with books their 
young mistress had lent them ; books which she had told them 
were ' fit for Sunday reading.' And she herself had another 
of the same sort open on the table, but she could not read it : 
its theology was incomprehensible to her, and her own mind 
was too busy, teeming, wandering, to listen to the language 
of another mind. 

Then, too, her imagination was full of pictures : images 
of Moore ; scenes where he and she had been together ; 
winter fireside sketches, a glowing landscape of a hot 
summer afternoon passed with him in the bosom of Nunnely 
wood : divine vignettes of mild spring or mellow autumn 
moments, when she had sat at his side in Hollow's copse, 
listening to the call of the May cuckoo, or sharing the 
September treasure of nuts and ripe blackberries a wild 
dessert which it was her morning's pleasure to collect in 
a little basket, and cover \vith green leaves and fresh blos- 
soms, and her afternoon's delight to administer to Moore, 


berry by berry, and nut by nut, like a bird feeding its 

Robert's features and form were with her ; the sound of 
his voice was quite distinct in her ear ; his few caresses 
seemed renewed. But th3se joys being hollow, were, 
erelong, crushed in : the pictures faded, the voice failed, the 
visionary clasp melted chill from her hand, and where the 
warm seal of lips had made impress on her forehead, it felt 
now as if a sleety i'ain-drop had fallen. She returned from 
an enchanted region to the real world : for Nunnely wood 
in June, she saw her narrow chamber; for the songs of 
bhxls in alleys, she heard the rain on her casement ; for the 
sigh of the south wind, came the sob of the mournful east ; 
and for Moore's manly companionship, she had the thin 
illusion of her own dim shadow on the wall. Turning from 
the pale phantom which reflected herself in its outline, and 
her reverie in the drooped attitude of its dim head and 
colourless tresses, she sat down inaction would suit the 
frame of mind into which she was now declining she said 
to herself : ' I have to live, perhaps, till seventy years. As 
far as I know, I have good health : half a century of 
existence may lie before me. How am I to occupy it? 
What am I to do to fill the interval of time which spreads 
between me and the grave ? ' 

She reflected. 

' I shall not be married, it appears,' she continued. ' I 
suppose, as Robert does not care for me, I shall never have 
a husband to love, nor little children to take care of. Till 
lately I had reckoned securely on the duties and affections 
of wife and mother to occupy my existence. I considered, 
somehow, as a matter of course, that I was growing up to 
the ordinary destiny, and never troubled myself to seek any 
other ; but now, I perceive plainly, I may have been mis- 
taken. Probably I shall be an old maid. I shall live to see 
Robert married to some one else, some rich lady : I shall 
never marry. What was I created for, I wonder ? When; 
is my place in the world ? ' 


She mused again. 

' Ah ! I see,' she pursued presently ; ' that is the question 
which most old maids are puzzled to solve : other people 
solve it for them by saying, ' Your place is to do good to 
others, to be helpful whenever help is wanted.' That is right 
in some measure, and a very convenient doctrine for the 
people who hold it ; but I perceive that certain sets of 
human beings are very apt to maintain that other sets 
should give up their lives to them and their service, and then 
they requite them by praise : they call them devoted and 
virtuous. Is this enough ? Is it to live ? Is there not a 
terrible hollowness, mockery, want, craving, in that existence 
which is given away to others, for want of something of 
your own to bestow it on ? I suspect there is. Does virtue 
lie in abnegation of self? I do not believe it. Undue 
humility makes tyranny ; weak concession creates selfish- 
ness. The Romish religion especially teaches renunciation 
of self, submission to others, and nowhere are found so 
many grasping tyrants as in the ranks of the Romish priest- 
hood. Each human being has his share of rights. I suspect 
it would conduce to the happiness and welfare of all, if each 
knew his allotment, and held to it as tenaciously as the 
martyr to his creed. Queer thoughts these, that surge in my 
mind : are they right thoughts ? I am not certain. 

' Well, life is short at the best : seventy years, they say, 
pass like a vapour, like a dream w r hen one awaketh ; and 
every path trod by human feet terminates in one bourne 
the grave : the little chink in the surface of this great globe 
the furrow where the mighty husbandman with the scythe 
deposits the seed he has shaken from the ripe stem ; and 
thei'e it falls, decays, and thence it springs again, when the 
world has rolled round a few times more. So much for the 
body ; the soul meantime wings its long flight upward, folds 
its wings on the brink of the sea of fire and glass, and 
gazing down through the burning clearness, finds there 
mirrored the vision of the Christian's triple Godhead : the 
Sovereign Father ; the Mediating Ron ; the Creator Spirit. 


Such words, at least, have been chosen to express what is 
inexpressible : to describe what baffles description. The 
soul's real hereafter, who shall guess ? ' 

Her fire was decayed to its last cinder; Malone had 
departed ; and now the study bell rang for prayers. 

The next day Caroline had to spend altogether alone, her 
uncle being gone to dine with his friend Dr. Boultby, vicar 
of Whinbury. The whole time she was talking inwardly in 
the same strain : looking forwards, asking what she was to 
do with life. Fanny, as she passed in and out of the room 
occasionally, intent on housemaid errands, perceived that 
her young mistress sat very still. She was always in the 
same place, always bent industriously over a piece of work : 
she did not lift her head to speak to Fanny, as her custom 
was ; and when the latter remarked that the day was 
fine, and she ought to take a walk, she only said ' It is 

' You are very diligent at that sewing, Miss Caroline,' 
continued the girl, approaching her little table. 

' I am tired of it, Fanny.' 

' Then why do you go on with it ? Put it down : read, or 
do something to amuse you.' 

' It is solitary in this house, Fanny : don't you think so ? ' 

' I don't find it so, miss. Me and Eliza are company for 
one another ; but you are quite too still you should visit 
more. Now, be persuaded ; go up- stairs and dress yourself 
smart, and go and take tea, in a friendly way, with Miss 
Mann or Miss Ainley ; I am certain either of those ladies 
would be delighted to see you.' 

' But their houses are dismal : they are both old maids. 
I am certain old maids are a very unhappy race.' 

' Not they, miss : they can't be unhappy ; they take such 
care of themselves. They are all selfish.' 

' Miss Ainley is not selfish, Fanny : she is always doing 
good. How devotedly kind she was to her stepmother, as 
long as the old lady lived ; and now when she is quite alone 
in the world, without brother or sister, or any one to care 

182 SHI&LEY 

for her, how charitable she is to the poor, as far as her means 
permit ! Still, nobody thinks much of her, or has pleasure 
in going to see her : and how gentlemen always sneer at 

' They shouldn't, miss ; I believe she is a good woman : 
but gentlemen think only of ladies' looks.' 

' I'll go and see her,' exclaimed Caroline, starting up : 
' and if she asks me to stay to tea, I'll stay. How wrong it 
is to neglect people because they are not pretty, and young, 
and merry ! And I will certainly call to see Miss Mann, 
too : she may not be amiable ; but what has made her 
unamiable ? What has life been to her ? ' 

Fanny helped Miss Helstone to put away her work, and 
afterwards assisted her to dress. 

' You'll not be an old maid, Miss Caroline,' she said, as she 
tied the sash of her brown-silk frock, having previously 
smoothed her soft, full, and shining curls ; ' there are no 
signs of an old maid about you.' 

Caroline looked at the little mirror before her, and she 
thought there were some signs. She could see that she was 
altered within the last month ; that the hues of her com- 
plexion were paler, her eyes changed a wan shade seemed 
to circle them, her countenance was dejected : she was not, 
in short, so pretty or so fresh as she used to be. She dis- 
tantly hinted this to Fanny, from whom she got no direct 
answer, only a remark that people did vary in their looks ; 
but that at her age a little falling away signified nothing, 
she would soon come round again, and be plumper and rosier 
than ever. Having given this assurance, Fanny showed 
singular zeal in wrapping her up in warm shawls and hand- 
kerchiefs, till Caroline, nearly smothered with the weight, 
was fain to i-csist further additions. 

She paid her visits : first to Miss Mann, for this was the 
mo;t difficult point : Miss Mann was certainly not quite a 
lovable person. Till now, Caroline had always unhesilat- 
ingly declared she disliked her, and more than once she had 
joined her cousin Robert in laughing at some of her pecu- 


liarities. Moore was not habitually given to sarcasm, 
especially on anything humbler or weaker than himself; but 
he had once or twice happened to be in the room when Miss 
Mann had made a call on his sister, and after listening to 
her conversation and viewing her features for a time, he had 
gone out into the garden where his little cousin was tending 
some of his favourite flowers, and while standing near and 
watching her, he had amused himself with comparing fair 
youth delicate and attractive with shrivelled eld, livid and 
loveless, and in jestingly repeating to a smiling girl the 
vinegar discourse of a cankered old maid. Once on such 
an occasion, Caroline had said to him, looking up from the 
luxuriant creeper she was binding to its frame, ' Ah 1 
Eobert, you do not like old maids. I, too, should come 
under the lash of your sarcasm, if I were an old maid.' 

' You an old maid ! ' he had replied. ' A piquant notion 
suggested by lips of that tint and form. I can fancy you, 
though, at forty, quietly dressed, pale and sunk, but still with 
that straight nose, white forehead, and those soft eyes. I 
suppose, too, you will keep your voice, which has another 
" timbre " than that hard, deep organ of Miss Mann's. 
Courage, Gary ! even at fifty you will not be repulsive.' 

' Miss Mann did not make herself, or tune her voice, 

' Nature made her in the mood in which she makes her 
briars and thorns : whereas for the creation of some women, 
she reserves the May morning hours, when with light and 
dew she wooes the primrose from the turf, and the lily from 
the wood-moss.' 

Ushered into Miss Mann's little parlour, Caroline found 
her, as she always found her, surrounded by perfect neat- 
ness, cleanliness, and comfort (after all, is it not a virtue 
in old maids that solitude rarely makes them negligent or 
disorderly?) ; no dust on her polished furniture, none on her 
carpet, fresh flowers in the vase on her table, a bright fire 
in the grate. She herself sat primly and somewhat grimly- 


tidy in a cushioned rocking-chair, her hands busied with 
some knitting : this was her favourite work, as it required 
the least exertion. She scarcely rose as Caroline entered ; 
to avoid excitement was one of Miss Mann's aims in life : 
she had been composing herself ever since she came down 
in the morning, and had just attained a certain lethargic 
state of tranquillity when the visitor's knock at the door 
startled her, and undid her day's work. She was scarcely 
pleased, therefore, to see Miss Helstone : she received her 
with reserve, bade her be seated with austerity, and when 
she got her placed opposite, she fixed her with her eye. 

This was no ordinary doom to be fixed with Miss 
Mann's eye. Robert Moore had undergone it once, and had 
never forgotten the circumstance. 

He considered it quite equal to anything Medusa could 
do ; he professed to doubt whether, since that infliction, his 
flesh had been quite what it was before whether there was 
not something stony in its texture. The gaze had had 
such an effect on him as to drive him promptly from the 
apartment and house ; it had even sent him straightway up 
to the Eectory, where he had appeared in Caroline's 
presence with a very queer face, and amazed her by 
demanding a cousinly salute on the spot, to rectify a damage 
that had been done him. 

Certainly Miss Mann had a formidable eye for one of the 
softer sex : it was prominent, and showed a great deal of 
the white, and looked as steadily, as unwinkingly, at you as 
if it were a steel ball soldered in her head ; and when, while 
looking, she began to talk in an indescribably dry monotonous 
tone a tone without vibration or inflection you felt as if a 
graven image of some bad spirit were addressing you. Bu'u 
it was all a figment of fancy, a matter of surface. Miss 
Mann's goblin-grimness scarcely went deeper than the 
angel-sweetness of hundreds of beauties. She was a 
perfectly honest, conscientious woman, who had performed 
duties in her day* from whose severe anguish many a human 
Peri, gazelle -eyed, silken-tressed, and silver-tongued, would 


have shrunk appalled : she had passed alone through 
protracted scenes of suffering, exercised rigid self-denial, 
made large sacrifices of time, money, health, for those who 
had repaid her only by ingratitude, and now her main 
almost her sole fault was, that she was censorious. 

Censorious she certainly was. Caroline had not sat five 
minutes ere her hostess, still keeping her under the spell of 
that dread and Gorgon gaze, began flaying alive certain of 
the families in the neighbourhood. She went to work at 
this business in a singularly cool, deliberate manner, like 
some surgeon practising with his scalpel on a lifeless subject : 
she made few distinctions ; she allowed scarcely any one 
to be good; she dissected impartially almost all her 
acquaintance. If her auditress ventured now and then to 
put in a palliative word, she set it aside with a certain 
disdain. Still, though thus pitiless in moral anatomy, she 
was no scandal-monger : she never disseminated really 
malignant or dangerous reports : it was not her heart so 
much as her temper that was wrong. 

Caroline made this discovery for the first time to-day ; 
and, moved thereby to regret divers unjust judgments she 
had more than once passed on the crabbed old maid, she 
began to talk to her softly, not in sympathizing woi'ds, but 
with a sympathizing voice. The loneliness of her condition 
struck her visitor in a new light ; as did also the character 
of her ugliness a bloodless pallor of complexion, and 
deeply worn lines of feature. The girl pitied the solitary 
and afflicted woman ; her looks told what she felt : a sweet 
countenance is never so sweet as when the moved heart 
animates it with compassionate tenderness. Miss Mann, 
seeing such a countenance raised to her, was touched in her 
turn : she acknowledged her sense of the interest thus 
unexpectedly shown in her, who usually met with only 
coldness and ridicule, by repl; ing to her candidly. Com- 
municative on her own affairs she usually was not, because 
no one cared to listen to her ; but to-day she became so, 
and her confidant shed tears as she heard her speak : for 


she told of cruel, slow-wasting, obstinate sufferings. Well 
might she be corpse-like : well might she look grim, and 
never smile ; well might she wish to avoid excitement, to 
gain and retain composure ! Caroline, when she knew all, 
acknowledged that Miss Mann was rather to be admired for 
fortitude than blamed for moroseness. Eeader ! when you 
behold an aspect for whose constant gloom and frown you 
cannot account, whose unvarying cloud exasperates you by 
its apparent causelessness, be sure that there is a canker 
somewhere, and a canker not the less deeply corroding 
because concealed. 

Miss Mann felt that she was understood partly, and 
wished to be understood further ; for, however old, plain, 
humble, desolate, afflicted we may be, so long as our hearts 
preserve the feeblest spark of life, they preserve also, shiver- 
ing near that pale ember, a starved, ghostly longing for 
appreciation and affection. To this extenuated spectre, 
perhaps, a crumb is not thrown once a year ; but when 
ahungered and athirst to famine when all humanity has 
forgotten the dying tenant of a decaying house Divine 
Mercy remembers the mourner, and a shower of manna 
falls for lips,- that earthly nutriment is to pass no more. 
Biblical promises, heard first in health, but then unheeded, 
come whispering to the couch of sickness : it is felt that a 
pitying God watches what all mankind have forsaken ; the 
tender compassion of Jesus is recalled and relied on : the 
faded eye, gazing beyond Time, sees a Home, a Friend, a 
Kefuge in Eternity. 

Miss Mann, drawn on by the still attention of her 
listener, proceeded to allude to circumstances in her past 
life. She spoke like one who tells the truth simply, and 
with a certain reserve ; she did not boast, nor did she 
exaggerate. Caroline found that the old rnaid had been a 
most devoted daughter and sister, an unwearied watcher by 
lingering deathbeds ; that to prolonged and unrelaxing 
attendance on the sick, the malady that now poisoned her 
own life owed its origin ; that to one wretched relative she 


had been a support and succour in the depths of self-earned 
degradation, and that it was still her hand which kept him 
from utter destitution, Miss Helstone stayed the whole 
evening, omitting to pay her other intended visit ; and when 
she left Miss Mann, it was with the determination to try in 
future to excuse her faults, never again to make light of her 
peculiarities or to laugh at her plainness ; and, above all 
things, not to neglect her, but to come once a week, and to 
offer her, from one human heart at least, the homage of 
affection and respect : she felt she could now sincerely give 
her a small tribute of each feeling. 

Caroline, on her return, told Fanny she was very glad 
she had gone out, as she felt much better for the visit. The 
next day she failed not to seek Miss Ainley. This lady 
was in narrower circumstances than Miss Mann, and her 
dwelling was more humble : it was, however, if possible, yet 
more exquisitely clean ; though the decayed gentlewoman 
could not afford to keep a servant, but waited on herself, and 
had only the occasional assistance of a little girl who lived 
in a cottage near. 

Not only was Miss Ainley poorer, but she was even 
plainer than the other old maid. In her first youth she 
must have been ugly ; now, at the age of fifty, she was very 
ugly. At first sight, all but peculiarly well-disciplined 
minds were apt to turn from her with annoyance : to 
conceive against her a prejudice, simply on the ground of 
her unattractive look. Then she was prim in dress and 
manner : she looked, spoke, and moved the complete old 

Her welcome to Caroline was formal, even in its kind- 
ness for it was kind ; but Miss Helstone excused this. 
She knew something of the benevolence of the heart which 
beat under that starched kerchief ; all the neighbourhood 
at least all the female neighbourhood knew something of 
it: no one spoke against Miss Ainley except lively young 
gentlemen, and inconsiderate old ones, who declared her 


Caroline was soon at home in that tiny parlour ; a kiud 
hand took from her her shawl and bonnet, and installed her 
in the most comfortable seat near the fire. The young and 
the antiquated woman were presently deep in kindly con- 
versation, and soon Caroline became aware of the power a 
most serene, unselfish, and benignant mind could exercise 
over those to whom it was developed. She talked never of 
herself always of others. Their faults she passed over ; 
her theme was their wants, which she sought to supply ; 
their sufferings, which she longed to alleviate. She was 
religious a professor of religion what some would call a 
' saint,' and she referred to religion often in sanctioned 
phrase in phrase which those who possess a perception 
of the ridiculous, without owning the power of exactly 
testing and truly judging character, would certainly have 
esteemed a proper subject for satire a matter for mimicry 
and laughter. They would have been hugely mistaken for 
their pains. Sincerity is never ludicrous ; it is always 
respectable. Whether truth be it religious or moral truth 
speak eloquently and in well-chosen language or not, its 
voice should be heard with reverence. Let those who 
cannot nicely, and with certainty, discern the difference 
between the tones of hypocrisy and those of sincerity, never 
presume to laugh at all, lest they should have the miserable 
misfortune to laugh in the wrong place, and commit impiety 
when they think they are achieving wit. 

Not from Miss Ainley's own lips did Caroline hear of her 
good works ; but she knew much of them nevertheless ; her 
beneficence was the familiar topic of the poor in Briarfield. 
They were not works of almsgiving : the old maid was too 
poor to give much, though she straitened herself to privation 
that she might contribute her mite when needful : they were 
the works of a Sister of Charity, far more difficult to perform 
than those of a Lady Bountiful. She would watch by any 
sick-bed : she seemed to fear no disease ; she would nurse 
the poorest whom none else would nurse : she was serene, 
humble, kind, and equable through everything. 


For this goodness she got but little reward in this life. 
Many of the poor became so accustomed to her services that 
they hardly thanked her for them : the rich heard them 
mentioned with wonder, but were silent, from a sense of 
shame at the difference between her sacrifices and their own. 
Many ladies, however, respected her deeply ; they could not 
help it ; one gentleman one only gave her his friendship 
and perfect confidence : this was Mr. Hall, the vicar of 
Nunnely. He said, and said truly, that her life came nearer 
the life of Christ, than that of any other human being he had 
ever met with. You must not think, reader, that in sketching 
Miss Ainley's character, I depict a figment of imagination 
no we seek the originals of such portraits in real life only. 

Miss Helstone studied well the mind and heart now 
revealed to her. She found no high intellect to admire : the 
old maid was merely sensible ; but she discovered so much 
goodness, so much usefulness, so much mildness, patience, 
truth, that she bent her own mind before Miss Ainley's in 
reverence. What was her love of natui-e, what was her sense 
of beauty, what were her more varied and fervent emotions, 
what was her deeper power of thought, what her wider 
capacity to comprehend, compared to the practical excellence 
of this good woman ? Momently, they seemed only beautiful 
forms of selfish delight ; mentally, she trod them under foot. 

It is true, she still felt with pain that the life which made 
Miss Ainley happy could not make her happy : pure and active 
as it was, in her heart she deemed it deeply dreary because 
it was so loveless to her ideas, so forlorn. Yet, doubtless, 
she reflected, it needed only habit to make it practicable and 
agreeable to any one : it was despicable, she felt, to pine 
sentimentally, to cherish secret griefs, vain memories ; to be 
inert, to waste youth in aching languor, to grow old doing 

'I will bestir myself,' was her resolution, 'and try to bo 
wise if I cannot be good.' 

She proceeded to make inquiry of Miss Ainley, if she could 
help her in anything. Miss Ainley, glad of an assistant, told 


her that she could, and indicated some poor families in 
Briarfield that it was desirable she should visit ; giving her 
likewise, at her further request, some work to do for certain 
poor women who had many children, and who were unskilled 
in using the needle for themselves. 

Caroline went home, laid her plans, and took a resolve not 
to swerve from them. She allotted a certain portion of her 
time for her various studies, and a certain portion for doing 
anything Miss Ainley might direct her to do ; the remainder 
was to be spent in exercise ; not a moment was to be left for 
the indulgence of such fevered thoughts as had poisoned last 
Sunday evening. 

To do her justice, she executed her plans conscientiously, 
perse veringly. It was very hard work at first it was even 
hard work to the end, but it helped her to stem and keep 
down anguish : it forced her to be employed ; it forebade her 
to brood : and gleams of satisfaction chequered her gray life 
here and there when she found she had done good, imparted 
pleasure, or allayed suffering. 

Yet I must speak truth ; these efforts brought her 
neither health of body nor continued peace of mind : with 
them all, she wasted, grew more joyless and more wan ; with 
them all, her memory kept harping on the name of Robert 
Moore : an elegy over the past still rung constantly in her 
ear ; a funereal inward cry haunted and harassed her : the 
heaviness of a broken spirit, and of pining and palsying 
faculties, settled slow on her buoyant youth. Winter seemed 
conquering her spring : the mind's soil and its treasures were 
freezing gradually to barren stagnation. 



YET Caroline refused tamely to succumb : she had native 
strength in her girl's heart, and she used it. Men and women 
never struggle so hard as when they straggle alone, without 
witness, counsellor, or confidant ; unencouraged, unadvised, 
and unpitied. 

Miss Helstone was in this position. Her sufferings were 
her only spur ; and being very real and sharp, they roused 
her spirit keenly. Bent on victory over a mortal pain, she 
did her best to quell it. Never had she been seen so busy, 
so studious, and, above all, so active. She took walks in all 
weathers long walks in solitary directions. Day by day she 
came back in the evening, pale and wearied-looking, yet 
seemingly not fatigued ; for still, as soon as she had thrown 
off her bonnet and shawl, she would, instead of resting, begin 
to pace her apartment : sometimes she would not sit down till 
she was literally faint. She said she did this to tire herself 
well, that she might sleep soundly at night. But if that was 
her aim it was unattained, for at night, when others slum- 
bered, she was tossing on her pillow, or sitting at the foot of 
her couch in the darkness, forgetful, apparently, of the 
necessity of seeking repose. Often, unhappy girl ! she was 
crying crying in a sort of intolerable despair, which, when 
it rushed over her, smote down her strength, and reduced her 
to childlike helplessness. 

When thus prostrate, temptations besieged her : weak 
suggestions whispered in her weary heart to write to Robert, 
and say that she was unhappy because she was forbidden to 
see him and Hortense, and that she feared he would with- 


draw his friendship (not love) from her, and forget her en- 
tii-ely, and begging him to remember her, and sometimes to 
write to her. One or two such letters she actually indited, 
but she never sent them : shame and good sense forbade. 

At last the life she led reached the point when it seemed 
she could bear it no longer ; that she must seek and find a 
change somehow, or her heart and head would fail under the 
pressure which strained them. She louged to leave Briarfield, 
to go to some very distant place. She longed for something 
else : the deep, secret, anxious yearning to discover and 
know her mother strengthened daily ; but with the desire 
was coupled a doubt, a dread if she knew her, could she 
love her ? There was cause for hesitation, for apprehension 
on this point : never in her life had she heard that mother 
praised : whoever mentioned her, mentioned her coolly. Her 
uncle seemed to regard his sister-in-law with a sort of tacit 
antipathy : an old servant, who had lived with Mrs. James 
Helstone for a short time after her marriage, whenever she 
referred to her former mistress, spoke with chilling reserve : 
sometimes she called her ' queer,' sometimes she said she did 
not understand her. These expressions were ice to the 
daughter's heart ; they suggested the conclusion that it was 
perhaps better never to know her parent, than to know her 
and not like her. 

But one project could she frame whose execution seemed 
likely to bring her a hope of relief ; it was to take a situation, 
to be a governess she could do nothing else. A little inci- 
dent brought her to the point, when she found courage to 
break her design to her uncle. 

Her long and late walks lay always, as has been said, on 
lonely roads ; but in whatever direction she had rambled, 
whether along the drear skirts of Stilbro* Moor, or over the 
sunny stretch of Nunnely Common, her homeward path was 
still so contrived as to lead her near the Hollow. She rarely 
descended the den, but she visited its brink at twilight almost 
as regularly as the stars rose over the hill-crests. Her rest- 
ing-place was at a certain stile under a certain old thorn: 



thence she could look down on the cottage, the mill, the dewy 
garden-ground, the still, deep dam ; thence was visible the 
well-known counting-house window, from whose panes at a 
fixed hour shot, suddenly bright, the ray of the well-known 
lamp. Her errand was to watch for this ray : her reward to 
catch it, sometimes sparkling bright in clear air, sometimes 
shimmering dim through mist, and anon flashing broken 
between slant lines of rain for she came in all weathers. 

There were nights when it failed to appear : she knew 
then that Eobert was from home, and went away doubly 
sad ; whereas its kindling rendered her elate, as though she 
saw in it the promise of some indefinite hope. If, while she 
gazed, a shadow bent between the light and lattice, her 
heart leaped that eclipse was Kobevt : she had seen him. 
She would return home comforted, carrying in her mind a 
clearer vision of his aspect, a distincter recollection of his 
voice, his smile, his bearing ; and, blent with these impres- 
sions, was often a sweet persuasion that, if she could get 
near him, his heart might welcome her presence yet : that 
at this moment he might be willing to extend his hand and 
draw her to him, and shelter her at his side as he used 
to do. That night, though she might weep as usual, she 
would fancy her tears less scalding ; the pillow they watered 
seemed a little softer ; the temples pressed to that pillow 
ached less. 

The shortest path from the Hollow to the Rectory wound 
near a certain mansion, the same under whoso lone walls 
Malone passed on that night-journey mentioned in an early 
chapter of this work the old and tenantless dwelling yclept 
Fieldhead. Tenantless by the proprietor it had been for ten 
years, but it was no ruin : Mr. Yorke had seen it kept in 
good repair, and an old gardener and his wife had lived in it, 
cultivated the grounds, and maintained the house in habit- 
able condition. 

If Fieldhead had few other merits as a building, it might 
at least be termed picturesque : its irregular architecture, 
and the gray and mossy colouring communicated by time, 


gave it a just claim to this epithet. The old latticed 
windows, the stone porch, the walls, the roof, the chimney- 
stacks, were rich in crayon touches and sepia lights and 
shades. The trees behind were fine, bold, and spreading ; 
the cedar on the lawn in front was grand, and the granite 
urns on the garden wall, the fretted arch of the gateway, 
were, for an artist, as the very desire of the eye. 

One mild May evening, Caroline passing near about 
moonrise, and feeling, though weary, unwilling yet to go 
home, where there was only the bed of thorns and the night 
of gi'ief to anticipate, sat down on the mossy ground near 
the gate, and gazed through towards cedar and mansion. It 
was a still night calm, dewy, cloudless : the gables, turned 
to the west, reflected the clear amber of the horizon they 
faced ; the oaks behind were black ; the cedar was blacker ; 
under its dense, raven boughs a glimpse of sky opened 
gravely blue : it was full of the moon, which looked 
solemnly and mildly down on Caroline from beneath that 
sombre canopy. 

She felt this night and prospect mournfully lovely. She 
wished she could be happy : she wished she could know 
inward peace : she wondered Providence had no pity on her, 
and would not help or console her. Recollections of happy 
trysts of lovers, commemorated in old ballads, returned on 
her mind : she thought such tryst in such scene would be 
blissful. Where now was Robert? she asked: not at the 
Hollow : she had watched for his lamp long, and had not 
seen it. She questioned within herself whether she and 
Moore were ever destined to meet and speak again. 
Suddenly the door within the stone porch of the Hall 
opened, and two men came out : one elderly and white- 
headed, the other young, dark-haired, and tall. They 
passed across the lawn, out through a portal in the garden 
wall : Caroline saw them cross the road, pass the stile, 
descend the fields ; she saw them disappear. Robert Moore 
had passed before her with his friend Mr. Yorke : neither 
had seen her. 


The apparition had been transient scarce seen ere gone ; 
but its electric passage left her veins kindled, her soul 
insurgent. It found her despairing : it left her desperate 
two different states. 

' Oh ! had he but been alone ! Had he but seen me ! ' 
was her cry, ' he would have said something ; he would 
have given me his hand. He docs, he must love me a little : 
he would have shown some token of affection : in his eye, 
on his lips, I should have read comfort : but the chance is 
lost. The wind the cloud's shadow does not pass more 
silently, more emptily than he. I have been mocked, and 
Heaven is cruel ! ' 

Thus, in the utter sickness of longing and disappoint- 
ment, she went home. 

The next morning at breakfast, where she appeared 
white-cheeked and miserable-looking as one who had seen 
a ghost, she inquired of Mr. Helstone ' Have you any 
objection, uncle, to my inquiring for a situation in a 
family ? ' 

Her uncle, ignorant as the table supporting his coffee-cup 
of all his niece had undergone and was undergoing, scarcely 
believed his ears. 

'What whim now?' he asked. 'Are you bewitched? 
What can you mean ? ' 

' I am not well, and need a change,' she said. 

He examined her. He discovered she had experienced 
a change, at any rate. Without his being aware of it, the 
rose had dwindled and faded to a mere snow-drop : bloom 
had vanished, flesh wasted ; she sat before him drooping, 
colourless, and thin. But for the soft expression of her 
brown eyes, the delicate lines of her features, and the flow- 
ing abundance of her hair, she would no longer have 
possessed a claim to the epithet pretty. 

' What on earth is the matter with you ? ' he asked. 
' What is wrong ? How are you ailing ? ' 

No answer, only the brown eyes lilled, the faintly-tinted 
lips trembled. 


' Look out for a situation, indeed ! For what situation 
are you fit ? What have you been doing with yourself ? 
You are not well.' 

' I should be well if I went from home.' 

' These women are incomprehensible. They have the 
strangest knack of startling you with unpleasant surprises. 
To-day you see them bouncing, buxom, red as cherries, and 
round as apples ; to-morrow they exhibit themselves effete 
as dead weeds, blanched and broken down. And the reason 
of it all ? That's the puzzle. She has her meals, her liberty, 
a good house to live in, and good clothes to wear, as usual : 
a while since that sufficed to keep her handsome and cheery, 
and there she sits now a poor, little, pale, puling chit enough. 
Provoking ! Then comes the question, what is to be done ? 
I suppose I must send for advice. Will you have a doctor, 
child ? ' 

' No, uncle ; I don't want one : a doctor could do me no 
good. I merely want change of air and scene.' 

' Well, if that be the caprice, it shall be gratified. You 
shall go to a watering-place. I don't mind the expense : 
Fanny shall accompany you.' 

' But, uncle, some day I must do something for myself ; 
I have no fortune. I had better begin now.' 

1 While I live, you shall not turn out as a governess, 
Caroline. I will not have it said that my niece is a 

' But the later in life one makes a change of that sort, 
uncle, the more difficult and painful it is. I should wish to 
get accustomed to the yoke before any habits of ease and 
independence are formed.' 

' I beg you will not harass me, Caroline. I mean to pro- 
vide for you. I have always meant to provide for you : I will 
purchase an annuity. Bless me ; I am but fifty-five ; my 
health and constitution are excellent : there is plenty of 
time to save and take measures. Don't make yourself 
anxious respecting the future : is that what frets you ? ' 

' No, uncle ; but I long for a change.' 


He laughed. ' There speaks the woman ! ' cried he, ' the 
very woman ! A change ! a change ! Always fantastical 
and whimsical ! Well, it's in her sex.' 

4 But it is not fantasy and whim, uncle.' 

1 What is it then ? ' 

1 Necessity, I think. I feel weaker than formerly ; I 
believe I should have more to do.' 

' Admirable ! She feels weak, and therefore she should 
be set to hard labour " cluir comme le jour " as Moore 
confound Moore ! You shall go to Cliff-bridge ; and 
there are two guineas to buy a new frock. Come, Gary, 
never fear : we'll find balm in Gilead.' 

' Uncle, I wish you were less generous, and more 

1 More what ? ' 

Sympathizing was the word on Caroline's lips, but it was 
not uttered : she checked herself in time : her uncle would 
indeed have laughed if that namby-pamby word had escaped 
her. Finding her silent, he said, ' The fact is, you don't 
know precisely what you want.' 

' Only to be a governess.' 

' Pooh ! mere nonsense ! I'll not hear of governessing. 
Don't mention it again. It is rather too feminine a fancy. 
I have finished breakfast, ring the bell : put all crotchets 
out of your head, and run away and amuse yourself.' 

' What with ? My doll ? ' asked Caroline to herself as 
she quitted the room. 

A week or two passed ; her bodily and mental health 
neither grew worse nor better. She was now precisely in 
that state when, if her constitution had contained the seeds 
of consumption, decline, or slow fever, those diseases would 
have been rapidly developed, and would soon have carried 
her quietly from the world. People never die of love or 
grief alone ; though some die of inherent maladies, which the 
tortures of those passions prematurely force into destructive 
action. The sound by nature undergo these tortures, and 
are racked, shaken, shattered : their beauty and bloom 
perish, but life remains untouched. They are brought to a 


certain point of dilapidation ; they are reduced to pallor, 
debility, and emaciation. People think, as they see them 
gliding languidly about, that they will soon withdraw to 
sick-beds, perish there, and cease from among the healthy 
and happy. This does not happen : they live on ; and 
though they cannot regain youth and gaiety, they may 
regain strength and serenity. The blossom which the March 
wind nips, but fails to sweep away, may survive to hang a 
withered apple on the tree late into autumn : having braved 
the last frosts of spring, it may also brave the first of 

Every one noticed the change in Miss Helstone's appear- 
rance, and most people said she was going to die. She never 
thought so herself : she felt in no dying case ; she had neither 
pain nor sickness. Her appetite was diminished ; she knew 
the reason : it was because she wept so much at night. Her 
strength was lessened ; she could account for it ; sleep was 
coy and hard to be won ; dreams were distressing and bale- 
ful. In the far future she still seemed to anticipate a time 
when this passage of misery should be got over, and when 
she should once more be calm, though perhaps never again 

Meanwhile her uncle urged her to visit ; to comply with 
the frequent invitations of their acquaintance : this she 
evaded doing ; she could not be cheerful in company ; she felt 
she was observed there with more curiosity than sympathy. 
Old ladies were always offering her their advice, recommend- 
ing this or that nostrum ; young ladies looked at her in a way 
she understood, and from which she shrank. Their eyes said 
they knew she had been ' disappointed,' as custom phrases it : 
by whom, they were not certain. 

Commonplace young ladies can be quite as hard as 
commonplace young gentlemen quite as worldly and selfish. 
Those who suffer should always avoid them ; grief and 
calamity they despise : they seem to regard them as the 
judgments of God on the lowly. With them, to ' love ' is 
merely to contrive a scheme for achieving a good match : to 

FtELDHEAft 190 

be ' disappointed ' is to have their scheme seen through and 
frustrated. They think the feelings and projects of others on 
the subject of love similar to their own, and judge them 

All this Caroline knew, partly by instinct, partly by 
observation : she regulated her conduct by her knowledge, 
keeping her pale face and wasted figure as much out of sight 
as she could. Living thus in complete seclusion, she ceased 
to receive intelligence of the little transactions of the neigh- 

One morning her uncle came into the parlour, where she 
sat endeavouring to find some pleasure in painting a little 
group of wild flowers, gathered under a hedge at the top of 
the Hollow fields, and said to her in his abrupt manner : 
' Come, child, you are always stooping over palette, or book, 
or sampler : leave that tinting work. By-the-by, do you put 
your pencil to you lips when you paint ? ' 

1 Sometimes, uncle, when I forget.' 

1 Then it is that which is poisoning you. The paints are 
deleterious, child : there is white lead, and red lead, and 
verdigris, and gamboge, and twenty other poisons in those 
colour cakes. Lock them up ! lock them up ! Get your 
bonnet on : I want you to make a call with me.' 

1 With you, uncle ? ' 

This question was asked in a tone of surprise. She was 
not accustomed to make calls with her uncle : she never rode 
or walked out with him on any occasion. 

' Quick ! quick ! I am always busy, you know : I have no 
time to lose.' 

She hurriedly gathered up her materials, asking, mean- 
time, where they were going. 

' To Fieldhead.' 

' Fieldhead ! What, to see old James Booth, the gar- 
dener ? Is he ill ? ' 

' We are going to see Miss Shirley Keeldar.' 

1 Miss Keeldar ! Is she come to Yorkshire ? Is she at 
Fieldhead ? ' 


1 She is. She has been there a week. I met her at a 
party last night that party to which you would not go. I 
was pleased with her : I choose that you shall make her 
acquaintance : it will do you good.' 

1 She is now come of age, I suppose ? ' 

' She is come of age, and will reside for a time on her 
property. I lectured her on the subject : I showed her her 
duty : she is not intractable ; she is rather a fine girl ; she 
will teach you what it is to have a sprightly spirit : nothing 
lackadaisical about her.' 

' I don't think she will want to see me, or to have me 
introduced to her. What good can I do her ? How can I 
amuse her ? ' 

' Pshaw ! Put your bonnet on.' 

' Is she proud, uncle ? ' 

' Don't know. You hardly imagine she would show her 
pride to me, I suppose? A chit like that would scarcely 
presume to give herself airs with the Kector of her parish, 
however rich she might be.' 

' No but how did she behave to other people ? ' 

1 Didn't observe. She holds her head high, and probably 
can be saucy enough where she dare she wouldn't be 
a woman otherwise. There, away now for your bonnet at 
once ! ' 

Not naturally very confident, a failure of physical 
strength and a depression of spirits had not tended to 
increase Caroline's presence of mind and ease of manner, or 
to give her additional courage to face strangers, and she 
quailed, in spite of self-remonstrance, as she and her uncle 
walked up the broad, paved approach leading from the gate- 
way of Fieldhead to its porch. She followed Mr. Helstone 
reluctantly through that porch into the sombre old vestibule 

Very sombre it was ; long, vast, and dark : one latticed 
window lit it but dimly ; the wide old chimney contained now 
no tire, for the present warm we i.ther noedecl it not ; it was 
filled instead with willow-boughs. The gallery on high, 


opposite the entrance, was seen but in outline, so shadowy 
became this hall towards its ceiling ; carved stags' heads, 
with real antlers, looked down grotesquely from the walls. 
This was neither a grand nor a comfortable house : within 
as without it was antique, rambling, and incommodious. A 
property of a thousand a year belonged to it ; which 
property had descended, for lack of male heirs, on a female. 
There were mercantile families in the district boasting twice 
the income, but the Keeldars, by virtue of their antiquity, 
and their distinction of lords of the manor, took the 
precedence of all. 

Mr. and Miss Helstone were ushered into a parlour : of 
course, as was to be expected in such a gothic old barrack, 
this parlour was lined with oak : fine dark, glossy panels 
compassed the walls gloomily and grandly. Very hand- 
some, reader, these shining, brown panels are : very mellow in 
colouring and tasteful in effect, but if you know what a 
' Spring clean ' is very execrable and inhuman. Whoever, 
having the bowels of humanity, has seen servants scrubbing 
at these polished wooden walls with bees-waxed cloths on a 
warm May day, must allow that they are ' tolerable and not 
to be endured ; ' and I cannot but secretly applaud the 
benevolent barbarian who had painted another and larger 
apartment of Fieldhead the drawing-room to wit, formerly 
also an oak-room of a delicate pinky white ; thereby earn- 
ing for himself the character of a Hun, but mightily enhanc- 
ing the cheerfulness of that portion of his abode, and saving 
future housemaids a world of toil. 

The brown-panelled parlour was furnished all in old 
style, and with real old furniture. On each side of the high 
mantelpiece stood two antique chairs of oak, solid as sylvan 
thrones, and in one of these sat a lady. But if this were 
Miss Keeldar, she must have come of age at least some twenty 
years ago : she was of matronly form, and though she wore 
no cap, and possessed hair of quite an undimmed auburn, 
shading small and naturally young-looking features, she had 
no youthful aspect, nor apparently the wish to assume it. 


You could have wished her attire of a newer fashion : in a 
well-cut, well-made gown, hers would have been no un- 
comely presence. It puzzled you to guess why a garment 
of handsome materials should be arranged in such scanty 
fold^, and devised after such an obsolete mode : you felt 
disposed to set down the wearer as somewhat eccentric at 

This lady received the visitors with a mixture of 
ceremony and diffidence quite English : no middle-aged 
matron who was not an Englishwoman could evince 
precisely the same manner; a manner so uncertain of her- 
self, of her own merits, of her power to please ; and yet so 
anxious to be proper, and if possible, rather agreeable than 
otherwise. In the present instance, however, more em- 
barrassment was shown than is usual even with diffident 
Englishwomen : Miss Helstone felt this, sympathized 
with the stranger, and, knowing by experience what was 
good for the timid, took a seat quietly near her, and began 
to talk to her with a gentle ease, communicated for the 
moment by the presence of one less self-possessed than 

She and this lady would, if alone, have at once got on 
extremely well together. The lady had the clearest voice 
imaginable : infinitely softer and more tuneful than could 
have been reasonably expected from forty years, and a form 
decidedly inclined to embonpoint. This voice Caroline 
liked ; it atoned for the formal, if correct, accent and 
language : the lady would soon have discovered she liked it 
and her, and in ten minutes they would have been fi'iends. 
But Mr. Helstone stood on the rug looking at them both ; 
looking especially at the strange lady with his sai'castic, 
keen eye, that clearly expressed impatience of her chilly 
ceremony, and annoyance at her want of aplomb. His hard 
gaze and rasping voice discomfited the lady more and more; 
she tried, however, to get up little speeches about the 
weather, the aspect of the country, c., but the impracti- 
cable Mr. Helstone preseptly found himself somewhat deaf ; 


whatever she said, he affected not to hear distinctly, and she 
was obliged to go over each elaborately constructed nothing 
twice. The effort soon became too much for her ; she was 
just rising in a perplexed flutter, nervously murmuring that 
she knew not what detained Miss Keeldar that she would go 
and look for her, when Miss Keeldar saved her the trouble 
by appearing : it was to be presumed at least that she who 
now came in through a glass-door from the garden owned 
that name. 

There is real grace in ease of manner, and so old Helstone 
felt when an erect, slight girl walked up to him, retaining 
with her left hand her little silk apron full of flowers, and, 
giving him her right hand, said pleasantly : ' I knew you 
would come to see me, though you do think Mr. Yorke has 
made me a Jacobin. Good morning.' 

1 But we'll not have you a Jacobin," returned he. ' No, 
Miss Shirley, they shall not steal the flower of my parish 
from me : now that you are amongst us, you shall be my 
pupil in politics and religion : I'll teach you sound doctrine 
on both points.' 

' Mrs. Pryor has anticipated you,' she replied, turning to 
the elder lady. Mrs. Pryor, you know, was my governess, 
and is still my friend ; and of all the high and rigid Tories, 
she is queen ; of all the stanch churchwomen, she is chief. 
I have been well drilled both in theology and history, I 
assure you, Mr. Helstone.' 

The Kector immediately bowed very low to Mrs. Pryor, 
and expressed himself obliged to her. 

The ex-governess disclaimed skill either in political or 
religious controversy, explained that she thought such 
matters little adapted for female minds, but avowed herself 
in general terms the advocate of order and loyalty, and, of 
course, truly attached to the Establishment. She added, 
she was ever averse to change under any circumstances ; and 
something scarcely audible about the extreme danger of 
being too ready to take up new ideas, closed her sentence. 
' Miss Keeldar thinks as you think, I hope, madam ? ' 


' Difference of age and difference of temperament occasion 
difference of sentiment,' was the reply. ' It can scarcely be 
expected that the eager and young should hold the opinions 
of the cool and middle-aged.' 

' Oh ! oh ! we are independent : we think for ourselves ! ' 
cried Mr. Helstone. ' We are a little Jacobin, for anything 
I know : a little freethinker, in good earnest. Let us have 
a confession of faith on the spot.' 

And he took the heiress's two hands causing her to let 
fall her whole cargo of flowers and seated her by him on 
the sofa. 

' Say your creed,' he ordered. 

' The Apostles' Creed ? ' 

' Yes.' 

She said it like a child. 

' Now for St. Athanasius's : that's the test ! ' 

' Let me gather up my flowers : here is Tartar coming, he 
will tread upon them.' 

Tartar was a rather large, strong, and fierce-looking dog, 
very ugly, being of a breed between mastiff and bull-dog, 
who at this moment entered through the glass-door, and 
posting directly to the rug, snuffed the fresh flowers 
scattered there. He seemed to scorn them as food; but 
probably thinking their velvety petals might be convenient 
as litter, he was turning round preparatory to depositing his 
tawny bulk upon them, when Miss Helstone and Miss 
Kecldar simultaneously stooped to the rescue. 

' Thank you,' said the heiress, as she again held out her 
little apron for Caroline to heap the blossoms into it. ' Is 
this your daughter, Mr. Helstone ? ' she asked. 

' My niece, Caroline.' 

Miss Keeldar shook hands with her, and then looked at 
her. Caroline also looked at her hostess. 

Shirley Keeldar (she had no Christian name but Shirley : 
her parents, who had wished to have a son, finding that, 
after eight years of marriage, Providence had granted them 
only a daughter, bestowed on her the same masculine 


family cognomen they would have bestowed on a boy, if with 
a boy they had been blessed) Shirley Keeldar was no ugly 
heiress : she was agreeable to the eye. Her height and 
shape were not unlike Miss Helstone's : perhaps in stature 
she might have the advantage by an inch or two ; she was 
gracefully made, and her face, too, possessed a charm as 
well described by the word grace as any other. It was pale 
naturally, but intelligent, and of varied expression. She 
was not a blonde, like Caroline : clear and dark were the 
characteristics of her aspect as to colour : her face and brow 
were clear, her eyes of the darkest gray : no green lights in 
them, transparent, pure, neutral gray: and her hair of 
the darkest brown. Her features were distinguished ; by 
which I do not mean that they were high, bony, and Eoman, 
being indeed rather small and slightly marked than other- 
wise ; but only that they were, to use a few French words, 
' fins, gracieux, spirituels : ' mobile they were and speaking ; 
but their changes were not to be understood, nor their 
language interpreted all at once. She examined Caroline 
seriously, inclining her head a little to one side, with a 
thoughtful air. 

'You see she is only a feeble chick,' observed Mr. 

' She looks young younger than I. How old are you ? ' 
she inquired in a manner that would have been patronising 
if it had not been extremely solemn and simple. 

I Eighteen years and six months.' 
' And I am twenty-one.' 

She said no more ; she had now placed her flowers on 
the table, and was busied in arranging them. 

' And St. Athanasius's Creed ? ' urged the Rector ; ' you 
believe it all don't you ? ' 

I 1 can't remember it quite all. I will give you a nose- 
gay, Mr. Helstone, when I have given your niece one.' 

She had selected a little bouquet of one brilliant and two 
or three delicate flowers, relieved by a spray of dark ver- 
dure : she tied it with silk from her work-box, and placed 


it on Caroline's lap ; and then she put her hands behind her, 
and stood bending slightly towards her guest, still regarding 
her, in the attitude and with something of the aspect of a 
grave but gallant little cavalier. This temporary expression 
of face was aided by the style in which she wore her hair, 
parted on one temple, and brushed in a glossy sweep above 
the forehead, whence it fell in curls that looked natural, so 
free were their wavy undulations. 

' Are you tired with your walk ? ' she inquired. 

' No not in the least ; it is but a short distance but a 

' You look pale. Is she always so pale ? ' she asked, 
turning to the Rector. 

' She used to be as rosy as the reddest of your flowers.' 

' Why is she altered ? What has made her pale ? Has 
she been ill ? ' 

4 She tells me she wants a change.' 

' She ought to have one : you ought to give her one : you 
should send her to the seacoast.' 

' I will, ere summer is over. Meantime, I intend her to 
make acquaintance with you, if you have no objection.' 

1 1 am sure Miss Keeldar will have no objection,' here 
observed Mrs. Pryor. ' I think I may take it upon me to 
say that Miss Helstone's frequent presence at Fieldhead will 
be esteemed a favour.' 

' You speak my sentiments precisely, ma'am,' said 
Shirley, ' and I thank you for anticipating me. Let me tell 
you,' she continued, turning again to Caroline, ' that you also 
ought to thank my governess ; it is not every one she would 
welcome as she has welcomed you : you are distinguished 
more than you think. This morning, as soon as you are 
gone, I shall ask Mrs. Fryer's opinion of you. I am apt to 
rely on her judgment of character, for hitherto I have found 
it wondrous accurate. Already I foresee a favourable 
answer to my inquiries do I not guess rightly, Mrs. 

' My dear you said but now you would ask my opinion 



when Miss Helstone was gone ; I am scarcely likely to give 
it in her presence.' 

1 No and perhaps it will be long enough before I obtain 
it. I am sometimes sadly tantalised, Mr. Helstone, by Mrs. 
Pryor's extreme caution : her judgments ought to be correct 
when they come, for they are often as tardy of delivery as a 
lord chancellor's : on some people's characters I cannot get 
her to pronounce sentence, entreat as I may.' 

Mrs. Pryor here smiled. 

' Yes,' said her pupil, ' I know what that smile means : 
you are thinking of my gentleman-tenant. Do you know Mr. 
Moore of the Hollow ? ' she asked Mr. Helstone. 

' Ay ! ay ! your tenant so he is : you have seen a good 
deal of him, no doubt, since you came ? ' 

' I have been obliged to see him : there was business to 
transact. Business ! Eeally the word makes me conscious 
I am indeed no longer a girl, but quite a woman and some- 
thing more. I am an esquire : Shirley Keeldar, Esquire, 
ought to be my style and title. They gave me a man's name ; 
I hold a man's position : it is enough to inspire me with a touch 
of manhood ; and when I see such people as that stately 
Anglo-Belgian that Gerard Moore before me, gravely talking 
to me of business, really I feel quite gentlemanlike. You 
must choose me for your churchwarden, Mr. Helstone, the 
next time you elect new ones : they ought to make me a 
magistrate and a captain of yeomanry : Tony Lumpkin's 
mother was a colonel, and his aunt a justice of the peace 
why shouldn't I be ? ' 

' With all my heart. If you choose to get up a requisi- 
tion on the subject, I promise to head the list of signatures 
with my name. But you were speaking of Moore ? ' 

' Ah ! yes. I find it a little difficult to understand Mr. 
Moore to know what to think of him : whether to like him 
or not. He seems a tenant of whom any proprietor might 
be proud and proud of him, I am, in that sense but as a 
neighbour, what is he ? Again and again I have entreated 
Mrs. Pryor to say what she thinks of him, but she still 


evades returning a direct answer. I hope you will be 
less oracular, Mr. Helstone, and pronounce at once : do you 
like him ? ' 

' Not at all, just now : his name is entirely blotted from 
my good books.' 

1 What is the matter ? What has he done ? ' 

' My uncle and he disagree on politics,' interposed the 
low voice of Caroline. She had better not have spoken just 
then : having scarcely joined in the conversation before, it 
was not apropos to do it now : she felt this, with nervous 
acuteness as soon as she had spoken, and coloured to the 

' What are Moore's politics ? ' inquired Shirley. 

1 Those of a tradesman,' returned the Eector ; ' narrow, 
selfish, and unpatriotic. The man is eternally writing and 
speaking against the continuance of the war : I have no 
patience with him.' 

' The war hurts his trade. I remember he remarked that 
only yesterday. But what other objection have you to him ? ' 

' That is enough.' 

'He looks the gentleman, in my sense of the term,' 
pursued Shirley, ' and it pleases me to think he is such.' 

Caroline rent the Tyrian petals of the one brilliant flower 
in her bouquet, and answered in distinct tones ' Decidedly 
he is.' Shirley hearing this courageous affirmation, flashed 
an arch, searching glance at the speaker from her deep, 
expressive eyes. 

' You are his friend, at any rate,' she said ; ' you defend 
him in his absence.' 

' I am both his friend and his relative,' was the prompt 
reply. ' Robert Moore is my cousin.' 

' Oh, then, you can tell me all about him. Just give me 
a sketch of his character.' 

Insuperable embarrassment seized Caroline when this 
demand was made : she could not, and did not attempt to 
comply with it. Her silence was immediately covered by 
Mrs. Pryor, who proceeded to address sundry questions to 


Mr. Helstone regarding a family or two in the neighbour- 
hood, with whose connections in the south she said she was 
acquainted. Shirley soon withdrew her gaze from Miss 
Helstone's face. She did not renew her interrogations, but 
returning to her flowers, proceeded to choose a nosegay for 
the Rector. She presented it to him as he took leave, 
and received the homage of a salute on the hand in return. 

' Be sure you wear it for my sake,' said she. 

1 Next my heart, of course,' responded Helstone. ' Mrs. 
Pry or, take care of this future magistrate, this churchwarden 
in perspective, this captain of yeomanry, this young squire 
of Briarfield, in a word : don't let him exert himself too 
much : don't let him break his neck in hunting : especially, 
let him mind how he rides down that dangerous hill near the 

' I like a descent,' said Shirley ' I like to clear it rapidly ; 
and especially I like that romantic Hollow, with all my 

' Romantic with a mill in it ? ' 

' Romantic with a mill in it. The old mill and the white 
cottage are each admirable in its way.' 

' And the counting-house, Mr. Keeldar ? ' 

1 The counting-house is better than my bloom-coloured 
drawing-room : I adore the counting-house. 

' And the trade ? The cloth the greasy wool the 
polluting dyeing-vats ? ' 

' The trade is to be thoroughly respected.' 

' And the tradesman is a hero ? Good ! ' 

' I am glad to hear you say so : I thought the tradesman 
looked heroic. 

Mischief, spirit, and glee sparkled all over her face as she 
thus bandied words with the old Cossack, who almost equally 
enjoyed the tilt. 

' Captain Keeldar, you have no mercantile blood in your 
veins : why are you so fond of trade ? ' 

' Because I am a mill-owner, of course. Half my income 
comes from the works in that Hollow.' 


' Don't enter into partnership, that's all.' 

' You've put it into my head ! you've put it into my 
head ! ' she exclaimed, with a joyous laugh. ' It will never 
get out : thank you.' And waving her hand, white as a lily 
and fine as a fairy's, she vanished within the porch, while 
the Hector and his niece passed out through the arched 



OHIRLEY showed she had been sincere in saying she should 
be glad of Caroline's society, by frequently seeking it : and, 
indeed, if she had not sought it, she would not have had it ; 
for Miss Helstone was slow to make fresh acquaintance. 
She was always held back by the idea that people could not 
want her, that she could not amuse them ; and a brilliant, 
happy, youthful creature, like the heiress of Fieldhead, 
seemed to her too completely independent of society so 
uninteresting as hers, ever to find it really welcome. 

Shirley might be brilliant, and probably happy likewise, 
but no one is independent of genial society : and though in 
about a month she had made the acquaintance of most of 
the families round, and was on quite free and easy terms 
with all the Misses Sykes, and all the Misses Pearson, and 
the two superlative Misses Wynne of Walden Hall ; yet, it 
appeared, she found none amongst them very genial : she 
fraternized with none of them, to use her own words. If she 
had had the bliss to be really Shirley Keeldar, Esq., Lord of 
the Manor of Briarfield, there was not a single fair one in 
this and the two neighbouring parishes, whom she would 
have felt disposed to request to become Mrs. Keeldar, lady of 
the manor. This declaration she made to Mrs. Pry or, who 
received it very quietly, as she did most of her pupil's off- 
hand speeches, responding, ' My dear, do not allow that 
habit of alluding to yourself as a gentleman to be con- 
firmed : it is a strange one. Those who do not know you, 
hearing you speak thus, would think you affected masculine 


Shirley never laughed at her former governess : even the 
little formalities and harmless peculiarities of that lady were 
respectable in her eyes : had it been otherwise, she would 
have proved herself a weak character at once : for it is only 
the weak who make a butt of quiet worth ; therefore she 
took her remonstrance in silence. She stood quietly near 
the window, looking at the grand cedar on her lawn, watch- 
ing a bird on one of its lower boughs. Presently she began 
to chirrup to the bird : soon her chirrup grew clearer ; ere- 
long she was whistling ; the whistle struck into a tune, and 
very sweetly and deftly it was executed. 

' My dear ! ' expostulated Mrs. Pryor. 

' Was I whistling ? ' said Shirley ; ' I forgot. I beg your 
pardon, ma'am. I had resolved to take care not to whistle 
before you.' 

' But, Miss Keeldar, where did you learn to whistle ? 
You must have got the habit since you came down into 
Yorkshire. I never knew you guilty of it before.' 

' Oh ! I learned to whistle a long while ago.' 

' Who taught you ? ' 

' No one : I took it up by listening, and I had laid it 
down again ; but lately, yesterday evening, as I was coming 
up our lane, I heard a gentleman whistling that very tune 
in the field on the other side of the hedge, and that reminded 

1 What gentleman was it ? ' 

' We have only one gentleman in this region, ma'am, and 
that is Mr. Moore ; at least he is the only gentleman who is 
not grey-haired : my two venerable favourites, Mr. Helstone 
and Mr. Yorke, it is true, are fine old beaux ; infinitely better 
than any of the stupid young ones.' 

Mrs. Pryor was silent. 

' You do not like Mr. Helstone, ma'am ? ' 

' My dear, Mr. Helstone's office secures him from 

' You generally contrive to leave the room when he is 



' Do you walk out this morning, my dear ? ' 

1 Yes, I shall go to the Eectory, and seek and find 
Caroline Helstone, and make her take some exercise : she 
shall have a breezy walk over Nunnely Common.' 

' If you go in that direction, my dear, have the goodness 
to remind Miss Helstone to wrap up well, as there is a fresh 
wind, and she appears to me to require care.' 

' You shall be minutely obeyed, Mrs. Pryor : meantime, 
will you not accompany us yourself ? ' 

' No, my love ; I should be a restraint upon you : I 
am stout, and cannot walk so quickly as you would wish 
to do.' 

Shirley easily persuaded Caroline to go with her : and 
when they were fairly out on the quiet road, traversing the 
extensive and solitary sweep of Nunnely Common, she 
as easily drew her into conversation. The first feelings of 
diffidence overcome, Caroline soon felt glad to talk with 
Miss Keeldar. The very first interchange of slight observa- 
tions sufficed to give each an idea of what the other was. 
Shirley said she liked the green sweep of the common turf, 
and, better still, the heath on its ridges, for the heath 
reminded her of moors : she had seen moors when she 
was travelling on the borders near Scotland. She remembered 
particularly a district traversed one long afternoon, on a 
sultry but sunless day in summer : they journeyed from 
noon till sunset, over what seemed a boundless waste of deep 
heath, and nothing had they seen but wild sheep ; nothing 
heard but the cries of wild birds. 

' I know how the heath would look on such a day,' said 
Caroline ; ' purple black : a deeper shade of the sky-tint, and 
that would be livid.' 

1 Yes quite livid, with brassy edges to the clouds, and 
here and there a white gleam, more ghastly than the lurid 
tinge, which, as you looked at it, you momentarily expected 
would kindle into blinding lightning.' 
1 Did it thunder ? ' 
' It muttered distant peals, but the storai did not break 


till evening, after we had reached our inn : that inn being an 
isolated house at the foot of a range of mountains.' 

'Did you watch the clouds come down over the 
mountains ? ' 

' I did : I stood at the window an hour watching them. 
The hills seemed rolled in a sullen mist, and when the rain 
fell in whitening sheets, suddenly they were blotted from 
the prospect : they were washed from the world.' 

' I have seen such storms in hilly districts in York- 
shire ; and at their riotous climax, while the sky was 
all cataract, the earth all flood, I have remembered the 

' It is singularly reviving after such hurricanes to feel 
calm return, and from the opening clouds to receive a 
consolatory gleam, softly testifying that the sun is not 

1 Miss Keeldar, just stand still now, and look down at 
Nunnely dale and wood.' 

They both halted on the green brow of the Common : 
they looked down on the deep valley robed in May raiment ; 
on varied meads, some pearled with daisies, and some 
golden with king-cups : to-day all this young verdure 
smiled clear in sunlight ; transparent emerald and amber 
gleams played over it. On Nunnwood the sole remnant of 
antique British forest in a region whose lowlands were once 
all sylvan chase, as its highlands were breast-deep heather 
slept the shadow of a cloud ; the distant hills were dappled, 
the horizon was shaded and tinted like mother-of-pearl ; 
silvery blues, soft purples, evanescent greens and rose- 
shades, all melting into fleeces of white cloud, pure as azury 
snow, allured the eye as with a remote glimpse of heaven's 
foundations. The air blowing on the brow was fresh, and 
sweet, and bracing. 

' Our England is a bonnie island,' said Shirley, ' and 
Yorkshire is one of her bonniest nooks.' 

' You are a Yorl< shire girl too ? ' 
I am Yorkshire in blooJ and birth. Five generations 


of my race sleep under the aisles of Briarfield Church : I 
drew my first breath in the old black hall behind us.' 

Hereupon Caroline presented her hand, which was 
accordingly taken and shaken. 

' We are compatriots,' said she. 

'Yes,' agreed Shirley, with a grave nod. 'And that/ 
asked Miss Keeldar, pointing to the forest ' that is Nunn- 
wood? ' 

' It is.' 
Were you ever there ? ' 

' Many a time.' 

' In the heart of it ? ' 

1 Yes.' 

1 What is it like ? ' 

1 It is like an encampment of forest sons of Anak. The 
trees are huge and old. When you stand at their roots, the 
summits seem in another region : the trunks remain still 
and firm as pillars, while the boughs sway to every breeze. 
In the deepest calm their leaves are never quite hushed, and 
in high wind a flood rushes a sea thunders above you.' 

' Was it not one of Robin Hood's haunts ? ' 

' Yes, and there are mementos of him still existing. To 
penetrate into Nunnwood, Miss Keeldar, is to go far back 
into the dim days of eld. Can you see a break in the forest, 
about the centre ? ' 

' Yes, distinctly.' 

' That break is a dell ; a deep, hollow cup, lined with 
turf as green and short as the sod of this Common : the 
very oldest of the trees, gnarled mighty oaks, crowd 
about the brink of this dell : in the bottom lie the ruins of a 

' We will go you and I alone, Caroline to that wood, 
early some fine summer morning, and spend a long day 
there. We can take pencils and sketch-books, and any 
interesting reading-book we like ; and of course we shall 
take something to eat. I have two little baskets, in which 
Mrs, Gill, my housekeeper, might pack our provisions, and 


we could each carry our own. It would not tire you too 
much to walk so far ? ' 

' Oh, no ; especially if we rested the whole day in the 
wood, and I know all the pleasantest spots : I know where 
we could get nuts in nutting time; I know where wild 
strawberries abound ; I know certain lonely, quite untrodden 
glades, carpeted with strange mosses, some yellow as if 
gilded, some a sober grey, some gem-green. I know groups 
of trees that ravish the eye \vdth their perfect, picture-like 
effects : rude oak, delicate birch, glossy beech, clustered in 
contrast; and ash trees stately as Saul, standing isolated, 
and superannuated wood-giants clad in bright shrouds of ivy. 
Miss Keeldar, I could guide you.' 

' You would be dull with me alone T 

4 1 should not. I think we should suit : and what third 
person is there whose presence would not spoil our 
pleasure ? ' 

4 Indeed, I know of none about our own ages no lady 
at least, and as to gentlemen ' 

4 An excursion becomes quite a different thing when 
there are gentlemen of the party,' interrupted Caroline. 

4 1 agree with you quite a different thing to what we 
were proposing.' 

4 We were going simply to see the old trees, the old ruins J 
to pass a day in old times, surrounded by olden silence, and 
above all by quietude.' 

' You are right ; and the presence of gentlemen dispels 
the last charm, I think. If they are of the wrong sort, 
like your Malones, and your young Sykes, and Wynnes, 
irritation takes the place of serenity. If they are of the 
right sort, there is still a change I can hardly tell what 
change, one easy to feel, difficult to describe.' 

' We forget Nature, imprimis.' 

4 And then Nature forgets us ; covers her vast calm brow 
with a dim veil, conceals her face, and withdraws the 
peaceful joy with which, if we had been content to worship 
her only, she would have filled our hearts.' 


' What does she give us instead ? ' 

1 More elation and more anxiety : an excitement that steals 
the hours away fast, and a trouble that ruffles their course.' 

' Our power of being happy lies a good deal in ourselves, 
I believe,' remarked Caroline sagely. ' I have gone to 
Nunnwood with a large party, all the curates and some 
other gentry of these parts, together with sundry ladies ; 
and I found the affair insufferably tedious and absurd : and 
I have gone quite alone, or accompanied but by Fanny, who 
sat in the woodman's hut and sewed, or talked to the 
goodwife, while I roamed about and made sketches, or read ; 
and I have enjoyed much happiness of a quiet kind all day 
long. But that was when I was young two years ago.' 

' Did you ever go with your cousin, Eobert Moore ? ' 

1 Yes ; once.' 

' What sort of a companion is he on these occasions ? ' 

1 A cousin, you know, is different to a stranger.' 

' I am aware of that ; but cousins, if they are stupid, are 
still more insupportable than strangers, because you cannot 
so easily keep them at a distance. But your cousin is not 
stupid ? ' 

No ; but ' 

Well ? ' 

' If the company of fools irritates, as you say, the society 
of clever men leaves its own peculiar pain also. Where the 
goodness or talent of your friend is beyond and above all 
doubt, your own worthiness to be his associate often becomes 
a matter of question,' 

' Oh ! there I cannot follow you : that crotchet is not one 
I should choose to entertain for an instant. I consider 
myself not unworthy to be the associate of the best of them 
of gentlemen, I mean : though that is saying a great deal. 
Where they are good, they are very good, I believe. Your 
uncle, by-the-by, is not a bad specimen of the elderly 
gentleman : I am always glad to see his brown, keen, 
sensible old face, either in my own house or any other. Are 
you fond of him ? Is he kind to you ? Now speak the truth.' 


' He has brought me up from childhood, I doubt not, 
precisely as he would have brought up his own daughter, if 
he had had one ; and that is kindness ; but I am not fond of 
him : I would rather be out of his presence than in it.' 

' Strange ! when he has the art of making himself so 

' Yes, in company ; but he is stern and silent at home. 
As he puts away his cane and shovel-hat in the Rectory hall, 
so he locks his liveliness in his book-case and study-desk : 
the knitted brow and brief word for the fire-side ; the smile, 
the jest, the witty sally, for society.' 

' Is he tyrannical ? ' 

' Not in the least : he is neither tyrannical nor hypo- 
critical : he is simply a man who is rather liberal than good- 
natured, rather brilliant than genial, rather scrupulously 
equitable than truly just, if you can understand such 
superfine distinctions ? ' 

' Oh ! yes : good -nature implies indulgence, which he 
has not ; geniality, warmth of heart, which he does not 
own ; and genuine justice is the offspring of sympathy and 
considerateness, of which, I can well conceive, my bronzed 
old friend is quite innocent.' 

' I often wonder, Shirley, whether most men resemble 
my uncle in their domestic relations ; whether it is necessary 
to be new and unfamiliar to them, in order to seem agree- 
able or estimable in their eyes ; and whether it is impossible 
to their natures to retain a constant interest and affection 
for those they see every day.' 

' I don't know : I can't clear up your doubts. I ponder 
over similar ones myself sometimes. But, to tell you a 
secret, if I were convinced that they are necessarily and 
universally different from us fickle, soon petrifying, un- 
sympathizing I would never marry. I should not like to 
find out that what I loved did not love me, that it was weary 
of me, and that whatever effort I might make to please would 
hereafter be worse than useless, since it was inevitably in 
its nature to change and become indifferent. That discovery 


once made, what should I long for ? To go away to 
remove from a presence where my society gave no 

4 But you could not, if you were married.' 

' No, I could not there it is. I could never be my own 
mistress more. A terrible thought ! it suffocates me ! 
Nothing irks me like the idea of being a burden and a bore, 
an inevitable burden, a ceaseless bore ! Now, when I 
feel my company superfluous I can comfortably fold my 
independence round me like a mantle, and drop my pride 
like a veil, and withdraw to solitude. If married, that could 
not be.' 

' I wonder we don't all make up our minds to remain 
single,' said Caroline : ' we should if we listened to the 
wisdom of experience. My uncle always speaks of marriage 
as a burden ; and I believe whenever he hears of a man 
being married, he invariably regards him as a fool, or, at any 
rate, as doing a foolish thing.' 

4 But, Caroline, men are not all like your uncle : surely 
not I hope not.' 

She paused and mused. 

4 1 suppose we each find an exception in the one we love, 
till we are married,' suggested Caroline. 

' I suppose so : and this exception we believe to be of 
sterling materials ; we fancy it like ourselves ; we imagine a 
sense of harmony. We think his voice gives the softest, 
truest promise of a heart that will never harden against us : 
we read in his eyes that faithful feeling affection. I don't 
think we should trust to what they call passion at all, 
Caroline. I believe it is a mere fire of dry sticks, blazing 
up and vanishing : but we watch him, and see him kind to 
animals, to little children, to poor people. He is kind to us 
likewise good considerate : he does not flatter women, but 
he is patient with them, and he seems to be easy in their 
presence, and to find their company genial. He likes them 
not only for vain and selfish reasons, but as we. like him 
because we like him Then we observe that he is just that 


he always speaks the truth that he is conscientious. We 
feel joy and peace when he comes into a room ; we feel sad- 
ness and trouble when he leaves it. We know that this 
man has been a kind son, that he is a kind brother : will 
any one dare to tell me that he will not be a kind 
husband ? ' 

' My uncle would affirm it unhesitatingly. " He will be 
sick of you in a month," he would say." 

' Mrs. Pryor would seriously intimate the same.' 

' Mrs. Yorke and Miss Mann would darkly suggest 

'If they are true oracles, it is good never to fall in 

' Very good, if you can avoid it.' 

1 1 choose to doubt their truth.' 

' I am afraid that proves you are already caught.' 

1 Not I : but if I were, do you know what soothsayers I 
would consult ? ' 

1 Let me hear.' 

' Neither man nor woman, elderly nor young : the little 
Irish beggar that comes barefoot to my door ; the mouse that 
steals out of the cranny in the wainscot ; the bird that in 
frost and snow pecks at my window for a crumb ; the dog 
that licks my hand and sits beside my knee.' 

' Did you ever see any one who was kind to such 
things ? ' 

' Did you ever see any one whom such things seemed 
instinctively to follow, like, rely on ? ' 

' We have a black cat and an old dog at the Eectory. I 
know somebody to whose knee that black cat loves to climb ; 
against whose shoulder and cheek it likes to purr. The old 
dog always comes out of his kennel and wags his tail, and 
whines affectionately when somebody passes.' 

' And what does that somebody do ? ' 

' He quietly strokes the cat, and lets her sit while he 
conveniently can, and when lie must disturb her by rising, 
he puts her softly down, and never flings her from him 


roughly; he always whistles to the dog and gives him a 

1 Does he ? It is not Bobert ? ' 

1 But it is Eoberfc.' 

' Handsome fellow ! ' said Shirley, with enthusiasm : her 
eyes sparkled. 

1 Is he not handsome ? Has he not fine eyes and well-cut 
features, and a clear, princely forehead? ' 

' He has all that, Caroline. Bless him ! He is both 
graceful and good.' 

' I was sure you would see that he was : when I first 
looked at your face I knew you would.' 

' I was well inclined to him before I saw him. I liked 
him when I did see him : I admire him now. There is 
charm in beauty for itself, Caroline ; when it is blent with 
goodness, there is a powerful charm.' 

1 When mind is added, Shirley ? ' 

' Who can resist it ? ' 

' Eemember my uncle, Mesdames Pryor, Yorke, and 

' Eemember the croaking of the frogs of Egypt ! He is 
a noble being. I tell you when they are good, they are the 
lords of the creation, they are the sons of God. Moulded 
in their Maker's image, the minutest spark of His spirit lifts 
them almost above mortality. Indisputably, a great, good, 
handsome man is the first of created things.' 

I Above us ? ' 

I 1 would scorn to contend for empire with him, I would 
scorn it. Shall my left hand dispute for precedence with 
my right? shall my heart quarrel with my pulse? shall 
my veins be jealous of the blood which fills them ? ' 

' Men and women, husbands and wives quarrel horribly, 

' Poor things ! poor, fallen, degenerate things! God 
made them for another lot for other feelings.' 

' But are we men's equals, or are we not? ' 

1 Nothing ever charms me more than when I meet my 


superior one who makes me sincerely feel that he is my 

' Did you ever meet him ? ' 

' I should be glad to see him any day : the higher above 
me, so much the better : it degrades to stoop it is glorious 
to look up. What frets me is, that when I try to esteem, I 
am baffled : when religiously inclined, there are but false gods 
to adore. I disdain to be a Pagan.' 

' Miss Keeldar, will you come in ? We are here at the 
Eectory gates.' 

' Not to-day ; but to-morrow I shall fetch you to spend 
the evening with me. Caroline Helstone if you really are 
what at present to me you seem you and I will suit. I 
have never in my whole life been able to talk to a young 
lady as I have talked to you this morning. Kiss me and 

Mrs. Pryor seemed as well disposed to cultivate Caroline's 
acquaintance as Shirley. She, who went nowhere else, 
called on an early day at the Bectory. She came in the 
afternoon, when the Eector happened to be out. It was 
rather a close day ; the heat of the weather had flushed her, 
and she seemed fluttered, too, by the circumstance of 
entering a strange house ; for it appeared her habits were 
most retiring and secluded. When Miss Helstone went to 
her in the dining-room, she found her seated on the sofa, 
trembling, fanning herself with her handkerchief, and seem- 
ing to contend with a nervous discomposure that threatened 
to become hysterical. 

Caroline marvelled somewhat at this unusual want of 
self-command in a lady of her years, and also at the lack of 
real strength in one who appeared almost robust : for Mrs. 
Pryor hastened to allege the fatigue of her walk, the heat of 
the sun, &c., as reasons for her temporary indisposition ; and 
still as, with more hurry than coherence, she ag;iin ;md 
again enumerated those causes of exhaustion, Caroline gently 
sought to relieve her by opening her shawl and removing her 


bonnet. Attentions of this sort, Mrs. Piyor would not have 
accepted from evei-y one : in general, she recoiled from 
touch or close approach, with a mixture of emharrassment 
and coldness far from flattering to those who offered her aid : 
to Miss Helstone's little light hand, however, she yielded 
tractably, and seemed soothed by its contact. In a few 
minutes she ceased to tremble, and grew quiet and tranquil. 

Her usual manner being resumed, she proceeded to talk 
of ordinary topics. In a miscellaneous company, Mrs. 
Pryor rarely opened her lips ; or, if obliged to speak, she 
spoke under restraint, and consequently not well ; in 
dialogue, she was a good converser : her language, always a 
little formal, was well chosen; her sentiments were just; 
her information was varied and correct. Caroline felt it 
pleasant to listen to her : more pleasant than she could have 

On the wall opposite the sofa where they sat, hung three 
pictures : the centre one, above the mantelpiece, that of a 
lady ; the two others, male portraits. 

' That is a beautiful face,' said Mrs. Pryor, interrupting a 
brief pause which had followed half an hour's animated 
conversation : the features may be termed perfect ; no 
statuary's chisel could improve them : it is a portrait from 
the life, I presume ? ' 

' It is a portrait of Mrs. Helstone.' 

' Of Mrs. Matthewson Helstone ? Of your uncle's wife ? ' 

' It is, and is said to be a good likeness : before her 
marriage, she was accounted the beauty of the district.' 

' I should say she merited the distinction : what accuracy 
in all the lineaments ! It is, however, a passive face : the 
original could not have been, what is generally termed, " a 
woman of spirit." ' 

' I believe she was a remarkably still, silent person.' 

1 One would scarcely have expected, my dear, that your 
uncle's choice would have fallen on a partner of that 
description. Is he not fond of being amused by lively 
chat ? ' 


1 In company he is ; but he always says he could never 
do with a talking wife : he must have quiet at home. You 
go out to gossip, he affirms ; you come home to read and 

'Mrs. Matthewson lived but a few years after her 
marriage, I think I have heard ? ' 

1 About five years.' 

' Well, my dear,' pursued Mrs. Pry or, rising to go, ' I 
trust it is understood that you will frequently come to 
Fieldhead : I hope you will. You must feel lonely here, 
having no female relative in the house : you must necessarily 
pass much of your time in solitude.' 

' I am inured to it : I have grown up by myself. May I 
arrange your shawl for you ? ' 

Mrs. Pryor submitted to be assisted. 

' Should you chance to require help in your studies,' she 
said, ' you may command me.' 

Caroline expressed her sense of such kindness. 

'I hope to have frequent conversations with you. I 
should wish to be of use to you.' 

Again Miss Helstone returned thanks. She thought 
what a kind heart was hidden under her visitor's seeming 
chilliness. Observing that Mrs. Pryor again glanced with an 
air of interest towards the portraits as she walked down the 
room, Caroline casually explained : ' The likeness that 
hangs near the window, you will see, is my uncle, taken 
twenty years ago ; the other, to the left of the mantelpiece, 
is his brother James, my father.' 

1 They resemble each other in some measure,' said Mrs. 
Pryor ; ' yet a difference of character may be traced in the 
different mould of the brow and mouth.' 

' What difference ? ' inquired Cai'oline, accompanying her 
to the door. ' James Helstcne that is, my father is gen- 
erally considered the best-looking of the two : strangers, I 
remark, always exclaim, " What a handsome man ! " Do you 
think his picture handsome, Mrs. Pryor ? ' 

' It is much softer or finer featured than that of your uncle.' 


'But where or what is the difference of character to 
which you alluded ? Tell me : I wish to see if you guess 

' My dear, your uncle is a man of principle : his forehead 
and his lips are firm, and his eye is steady.' 

' Well, and the other ? Do not be afraid of offending me > 
I always like the truth.' 

' Do you like the truth ? It is well for you : adhere to 
that preference never swerve thence. The other, my dear, 
if he had been living now, would probably have furnished 
little support to his daughter. It is, however, a graceful 
head taken in youth, I should think. My dear ' (turning 
abruptly), 'you acknowledge an inestimable value in 
principle ? ' 

' I am sure no character can have true worth without it.' 

'You feel what you say? You have considered the 
subject ? ' 

' Often. Circumstances early forced it upon my 

' The lesson was not lost, then, though it came so pre- 
maturely. I suppose the soil is not light nor stony, otherwise 
seed falling in that season never would have borne fruit- 
My dear, do not stand in the air of the door, you will take 
cold : good afternoon.' 

Miss Helstone's new acquaintance soon became of value 
to her : their society was acknowledged a privilege. She 
found she would have been in error indeed to have let slip 
this chance of relief to have neglected to avail herself of 
this happy change : a turn was thereby given to her thoughts , 
a new channel was opened for them, which, diverting a few 
of them at least from the one direction in which all had 
hitherto tended, abated the impetuosity of their rush, and 
lessened the force of their pressure on one worn-down 

Soon she was content to spend whole days at Fieldhead, 
doing by turns whatever Shirley or Mrs. Pryor wished her 
to do : and now one would claim hor, now the other 


Nothing could be less demonstrative than the friendship of 
the elder lady ; but also nothing could be more vigilant, 
assiduous, untiring. I have intimated that she was a 
peculiar personage ; and in nothing was her peculiarity 
more shown than in the nature of the interest she evinced 
for Caroline. She watched all her movements : she seemed 
as if she would have guarded all her steps : it gave her 
pleasure to be applied to by Miss Helstone for advice and 
assistance ; she yielded her aid, when asked, with such 
quiet yet obvious enjoyment, that Caroline erelong took 
delight in depending on her. 

Shirley Keeldar's complete docility with Mrs. Pryor had 
at first surprised Miss Helstone, and not less the fact of the 
reserved ex-governess being so much at home and at ease in 
the residence of her young pupil, where she filled with such 
quiet independency a very dependent post ; but she soon 
found that it needed but to know both ladies to comprehend 
fully the enigma. Every one, it seemed to her, must like, 
must love, must prize Mrs. Pryor when they knew her. No 
matter that she perseveringly wore old-fashioned gowns ; 
that her speech was formal, and her manner cool ; that she 
had twenty little ways such as nobody else had she was 
still such a stay, such a counsellor, so truthful, so kind in her 
way, that, in Caroline's idea, none once accustomed to her 
presence could easily afford to dispense with it. 

As to dependency or humiliation, Caroline did not feel it 
in her intercourse with Shirley, and why should Mrs. 
Pryor ? The heiress was rich very rich compared with 
her new friend : one possessed a clear thousand a year 
the other not a penny ; and yet there was a safe sense of 
equality experienced in her society, never known in that of 
the ordinary Briarfield and Whinbury gentry. 

The reason was, Shirley's head ran on other things than 
money and position. She was glad to be independent as 
to property : by fits she was even elated at the notion of 
being lady of the manor, and having tenants and an estate : 
she was especially tickled witn an agreeable complacency 


when reminded of ' all that property ' down in the Hollow, 
'comprising an excellent cloth-mill, dyehouse, warehouse, 
together with the messuage, gardens and outbuildings, termed 
Hollow's cottage ; ' but her exultation being quite undis- 
guised was singularly inoffensive ; and for her serious 
thoughts, they tended elsewhere. To admire the great, 
reverence the good, and be joyous with the genial, was 
very much the bent of Shirley's soul ; she mused therefore 
on the means of following this bent far oftener than she 
pondered on her social superiority. 

In Caroline, Miss Keeldar had first taken an interest 
because she was quiet, retiring, looked delicate, and seemed 
as if she needed some one to take care of her. Her 
predilection increased greatly when she discovered that her 
own way of thinking and talking w r as understood and 
responded to by this new acquaintance. She had hardly 
expected it. Miss Helstone, she fancied, had too pretty a 
face, manners and voice too soft, to be anything out of the 
common way in mind and attainments ; and she very much 
wondered to see the gentle features light up archly to the 
reveillee of a dry sally or two risked by herself ; and more 
did she wonder to discover the self- won knowledge treasured, 
and the untaught speculations working in that girlish, curl- 
veiled head. Caroline's instinct of taste, too, was like her 
own : such books as Miss Keeldar had read with the most 
pleasure, were Miss Helstone's delight also. They held 
many aversions too in common, and could have the comfort 
of laughing together over works of false sentimentality and 
pompous pretension. 

Few, Shirley conceived, men or women have the right 
taste in poetry : the right sense for discriminating between 
what is real and what is false. She had again and again heard 
very clever people pronounce this or that passage, in this or 
that versifier, altogether admirable, which, when she read, her 
soul refused to acknowledge as anything but cant, flourish, 
and tinsel, or at the best, elaborate wordiness; curious, 
clever, learned perhaps ; haply even tinged with the 


fascinating hues of fancy, but, God knows, as different from 
real poetry as the gorgeous and massy vase of mosaic is 
from the little cup of pure metal ; or, to give the reader a 
choice of similes, as the milliner's artificial wreath is from 
the fresh-gathered lily of the field. 

Caroline, she found, felt the value of the true ore, and knew 
the deception of the flashy dross. The minds of the two 
girls being toned in harmony, often chimed very sweetly 

One evening they chanced to be alone in the oak-parlour. 
They had passed a long wet day together without ennui ; it 
was now on the edge of dark ; candles were not yet brought 
in ; both, as twilight deepened, grew meditative and silent. 
A western wind roared high round the hall, driving wild 
clouds and stormy rain up from the far-remote ocean : all 
was tempest outside the antique lattices, all deep peace 
within. Shirley sat at the window, watching the rack in 
heaven, the mist on earth, listening to certain notes of the 
gale that plained like restless spirits notes which, had she 
not been so young, gay, and healthy, would have swept her 
trembling nerves like some omen, some anticipatory dirge : 
in this her prime of existence and bloom of beauty, they but 
subdued vivacity to pensiveness. Snatches of sweet ballads 
haunted her ear ; now and then she sang a stanza : her 
accents obeyed the fitful impulse of the wind ; they swelled 
as its gusts rushed on, and died as they wandered away. 
Caroline, withdrawn to the farthest and darkest end of the 
room, her figure just discernible by the ruby shine of the 
flameless fire, was pacing to and fro, murmuring to herself 
fragments of well-remembered poetry. She spoke very low, 
but Shirley heard her ; and while singing softly, she listened. 
This was the strain : 

Obscurest night involved the sky, 
The Atlantic billows roar'd, 

When such a destined wretch as I, 
Washed headlonp from on board, 

Of friends, of hope, of all bereft, 

His floating homo for ever left. 


Here the fragment stopped ; because Shirley's song, ere- 
while somewhat full and thrilling, had become delicately faint. 

4 Go on,' said she. 

'Then you go on, too. I was only repeating "The 
Castaway." ' 

' I know : if you can remember it all, say it all.' 

And as it was nearly dark, and, after all, Miss Keeldar 
was no formidable auditor, Caroline went through it. She 
went through it as she should have gone through it. The 
wild sea, the drowning mariner, the reluctant ship swept on 
in the storm, you heard were realized by her; and more 
vividly was realized the heart of the poet, who did not weep 
for ' The Castaway,' but who, in an hour of tearless anguish, 
traced a semblance to his own God-abandoned misery in the 
fate of that man-forsaken sailor, and cried from the depths 
where he struggled : 

No voice divine the storm allayed, 

No light propitious shone, 
When, snatch' J from all effectual aid, 

We perish'd each alone 1 
But I beneath a rougher sea, 
And whelm'd in deeper gulfs than he. 

' I hope William Cowper is safe and calm in heaven now,' 
said Caroline. 

' Do you pity what he suffered on earth ? ' asked Miss 

' Pity him, Shirley ? What can I do else ? He was 
nearly broken-hearted when he wrote that poem, and it 
almost breaks one's heart to read it. But he found relief in 
writing it I know he did; and that gift of poetry the 
most divine bestowed on man was, I believe, granted 
to allay emotions when their strength threatens harm. It 
seems to me, Shirley, that nobody should write poetry to 
exhibit intellect or attainment. Who cares for that sort of 
poetry? Who cares for learning who cares for fine words 
in poetry? And who does not care for feeling- real feeling 
however simply, even rudely expressotl ? ' 


' It seems you care for it, at all events : and certainly, in 
hearing that poem, one discovers that Cowper was under an 
impulse strong as that of the wind which drove the ship an 
impulse which, while it would not suffer him to stop to add 
ornament to a single stanza, filled him with force to achieve 
the whole with consummate perfection. You managed to recite 
it with a steady voice, Caroline : I wonder thereat.' 

1 Cowper's hand did not tremble in writing the lines : why 
should my voice falter in repeating them? Depend on it, 
Shirley, no tear blistered the manuscript of " The Castaway," 
I hear in it no sob of sorrow, only the cry of despair ; but, 
that cry uttered, I believe the deadly spasm passed from his 
heart ; that he wept abundantly, and was comforted.' 

Shirley resumed her ballad minstrelsy. Stopping short, 
she remarked erelong : ' One could have loved Cowper if it 
were only for the sake of having the privilege of comforting 

' You never would have loved Cowper,' rejoined Caroline, 
promptly : ' he was not made to be loved by woman.' 

' What do you mean ? ' 

' What I say. I know there is a kind of natures in the 
world and very noble, elevated natures, too whom love 
never comes near. You might have sought Cowper with the 
intention of loving him ; and you would have looked at him, 
pitied him, and left him : forced away by a sense of the 
impossible, the incongruous, as the crew were borne from 
their drowning comrade by " the furious blast." ' 

' You may be right. Who told you this ? ' 

1 And what I say of Cowper, I should say of Rousseau. 
Was Eousseau ever loved ? He loved passionately ; but was 
his passion ever returned? I am certain, never. And if 
there were any female Cowpers and Rousseaus, I should 
assert the same of them.' 

' Who told you this, I ask ? Did Moore ? ' 

' Why should anybody have told me ? Have I not an 
instinct? Can I not divine by analogy? Moore never 
talked to me either about Cowper or Rousseau, or love. 


The voice we hear in solitude told me all I know on these 

'Do you like characters of the Rousseau order, Caro- 
line ? ' 

' Not at all, as a whole. I sympathise intensely with 
certain qualities they possess : certain divine sparks in their 
nature dazzle my eyes, and make my soul glow. Then, 
again, I scorn them. They are made of clay and gold. 
The refuse and the ore make a mass of weakness : taken 
altogether, I feel them unnatural, unhealthy, repulsive.' 

' I dare say I should be more tolerant of a Rousseau than 
you would, Gary : submissive and contemplative yourself, 
you like the stern and the practical. By-the-way, you must 
miss that Cousin Robert of yours very much, now that you 
and he never meet.' 

1 1 do.' 

1 And he must miss you ? ' 

' That he does not.' 

' I cannot imagine,' pursued Shirley, who had lately got 
a habit of introducing Moore's name into the conversation, 
even when it seemed to have no business there, ' I cannot 
imagine but that he was fond of you, since he took so much 
notice of you, talked to you, and taught you .so much.' 

' He never was fond of me : he never professed to lv> 
fond of me. He took pains to prove that he only just, 
tolerated me.' 

Caroline, determined not to err on the flattering side in 
estimating her cousin's regard for her, always now habitually 
thought of it and mentioned it in the most scanty measure. 
She had her own reasons for being less sanguine than ever 
in hopeful views of the future : less indulgent to pleasurable 
retrospections of the past. 

' Of course, then,' observed Miss Keeldar, ' you only just 
tolerated him, in return ? ' 

' Shirley, men and women arc so different : tlvy are in 
such a different position. Women have so few things to 
think about men so many : you may have a friendship for 


a man, while he is almost indifferent to you. Much of what 
cheers your life may be dependent on him, while not a 
feeling or interest of moment in his eyes may have reference 
to you. Eobert used to be in the habit of going to London, 
sometimes for a week or a fortnight together ; well, while he 
was away, I found his absence a void : there was something 
wanting ; Briarfield was duller. Of course, I had my usual 
occupations ; still I missed him. As I sat by myself in the 
evenings, I used to feel a strange certainty of conviction I 
cannot describe : that if a magician or a genius had, at that 
moment, offered me Prince Ali's tube (you remember it in 
the Arabian Nights ?), and if, with its aid, I had been enabled 
to take a view of Eobert to see where he was, how occupied 
I should have learned, in a startling manner, the width of 
the chasm which gaped between such as he and such as I. 
I knew that, however my thoughts might adhere to him, his 
were effectually sundered from me.' 

' Caroline,' demanded Miss Keeldar, abruptly, ' don't you 
wish you had a profession a trade ? ' 

'I wish it fifty times a day. As it is, I often wonder 
what I came into the world for. I long to have something 
absorbing and compulsory to fill my head and hands, and to 
occupy my thoughts.' 

' Can labour alone make a human being happy ? ' 

' No ; but it can give varieties of pain, and prevent us 
from breaking our hearts with a single tyrant master-torture. 
Besides, successful labour has its recompense; a vacant, 
weary, lonely, hopeless life has none.' 

But hard labour and learned professions, they say, make 
women masculine, coarse, unwomanly.' 

' And what does it signify, whether unmarried and never- 
to-be-married women are unattractive and inelegant, or not ? 
provided only they are decent, decorous, and neat, it is 
enough. The utmost which ought to be required of old 
maids, in the way of appearance, is that they should not 
absolutely offend men's eyes as they pass them in the 
street; for the rest, they should be allowed, without too 


much scorn, to be as absorbed, grave, plain -looking, and 
plain-dressed as they please.' 

' You might be an old-maid yourself, Caroline, you speak 
so earnestly.' 

1 1 shall be one : it is my destiny. I will never marry a 
Malone or a Sykes and no one else will ever marry me.' 

Here fell a long pause : Shirley broke it. Again the 
name by which she seemed bewitched was almost the first on 
her lips. 

' Lina did not Moore call you Lina sometimes ? ' 

' Yes : it is sometimes used as the abbreviation of Caroline 
in his native country. 1 

' Well, Lina, do you remember my one day noticing an 
inequality in your hair a curl wanting on that right side 
and your telling me that it was Robert's fault, as he had 
once cut therefrom a long lock ? ' 

1 Yes.' 

' If he is, and always was, as indifferent to you as you say, 
why did he steal your hair ? ' 

' I don't know yes, I do : it was my doing, not his. 
Everything of that sort always was my doing. He was 
going from home to London, as usual ; and the night before 
he went, I had found in his sister's workbox a lock of black 
hair a short, round curl: Hortense told me it was her 
brother's and a keepsake. He was sitting near the table ; I 
looked at his head he has plenty of hair ; on the temples 
were many such round curls. I thought he could spare me 
one : I knew I should like to have it, and I asked for it. 
He said, on condition that he might have his choice of a 
tress from my head : so he got one of my long locks of 
haii', and I got one of his short ones. I keep his, but, I 
dare say, he has lost mine. It was my doing, and one of 
those silly deeds it distresses the heart and sets the face on 
fire to think of: one of those small but sharp recollections 
that return, lacerating your self-respect like tiny penknives, 
and forcing from your lips, as you sit alone, sudden, insane- 
sounding interjections.' 


' Caroline ! ' 

' I do think myself a fool, Shirley, in some respects : I do 
despise myself. But I said I would not make you my 
confessor ; for you cannot reciprocate foible for foible : you 
are not weak. How steadily you watch me now ! turn 
aside your clear, strong, she-eagle eye ; it is an insult to fix 
it on me thus.' 

' What a study of character you are ! Weak, certainly ; 
but not in the sense you think. Come in ! ' 

This was said in answer to a tap at the door. Miss 
Keeldar happened to be near it at the moment, Caroline at 
the other end of the room ; she saw a note put into Shirley's 
hands, and heard the words ' From Mr. Moore, ma'am.' 

1 Bring candles,' said Miss Keeldar. 

Caroline sat expectant. 

' A communication on business,' said the heiress ; but 
when candles were brought, she neither opened nor read it. 
The Rector's Fanny was presently announced, and the 
Rector's niece went home. 



I A >I Shirley's nature prevailed at times an easy indolence : 
there were periods when she took delight in perfect vacancy 
of hand and eye moments when her thoughts, her simple 
existence, the fact of the world being around and heaven 
above her, seemed to yield her such fulness of happiness, 
that she did not need to lift a finger to increase the joy. 
Often, after an active morning, she would spend a sunny 
afternoon in lying stirless on the turf, at the foot of some 
tree of friendly umbrage : no society did she need but that 
of Caroline, and it sufficed if she were within call ; no 
spectacle did she ask but that of the deep blue sky, and such 
cloudlets as sailed afar and aloft across its span ; no sound 
but that of the bee's hum, the leaf's whisper. Her sole book 
in such hours was the dim chronicle of memory, or the sibyl 
page of anticipation ; from her young eyes fell on each 
volume a glorious light to read by ; round her lips at 
moments played a smile which revealed glimpses of the tale 
or prophecy : it was not sad, not dark. Fate had been 
benign to the blissful dreamer, and promised to favour her 
yet again. In the past were sweet passages ; in her future 
rosy hopes. 

Yet one day when Caroline drew near to rouse he", 
thinking she had lain long enough, behold, as she looked 
down, Shirley's cheek was wet as if with dew : those fine 
eyes of hers shone humid and brimming. 

' Shirley, \\hy do you cry ? ' asked Caroline, involuntarily 
laying stress on you. 


Miss Keeldar smiled, and turned her picturesque head 
towards the questioner. ' Because it pleases me mightily to 
cry,' she said ; ' my heart is both sad and glad : but why, 
you good patient child why do you not bear me company ? 
I only weep tears, delightful and soon wiped away : you 
might weep gall, if you choose.' 

' Why should I weep gall ? ' 

' Mateless, solitary bird ! ' was the only answer. 

' And are not you, too, mateless, Shirley ? ' 

' At heart no.' 

1 Oh ! who nestles there, Shirley ? ' 

But Shirley only laughed gaily at this question, and 
alertly started up. 

' I have dreamed,' she said : ' a mere day-dream ; 
certainly bright, probably baseless ! ' 

Miss Helstone was by this time free enough from 
illusions : she took a sufficiently grave view of the future, 
and fancied she knew pretty well how her own destiny and 
that of some others were tending. Yet old associations 
retained their influence over her, and it was these, and the 
power of habit, which still frequently drew her of an evening 
to the field-stile and the old thorn overlooking the Hollow. 

One night, the night after the incident of the note, she 
had been at her usual post, watching for her beacon 
watching vainly ; that evening no lamp was lit. She 
waited till the rising of certain constellations warned her of 
lateness, and signed her away. In passing Fieldhead, on 
her return, its moonlight beauty attracted her glance, and 
stayed her step an instant. Tree and hall rose peaceful 
under the night sky and clear full orb ; pearly paleness 
gilded the building ; mellow brown gloom bosomed it round ; 
shadows of deep green brooded above its oak-wreathed roof. 
The broad pavement in front shone pale also ; it gleamed as 
if some spell had transformed the dark granite to glistering 
Parian : on the silvery space slept two sable shadows, thrown 
sharply defined from two human figures. These figures 


when first seen were motionless and mute ; presently they 
moved in harmonious step, and spoke low in harmonious 
key. Earnest was the gaze that scrutinized them as they 
emerged from behind the trunk of the cedar. 'Is it 
Mrs. Pryor and Shirley ? ' 

Certainly it is Shirley. Who else has a shape so lithe, 
and proud, and graceful ? And her face, too, is visible : her 
countenance careless and pensive, and musing and mirthful, 
and mocking and tender. Not fearing the dew, she has not 
covered her head ; her curls are free : they veil her neck and 
caress her shoulder with their tendril rings. An ornament 
of gold gleams through the half-closed folds of the scarf she 
has wrapped across her bust, and a large bright gem 
glitters on the white hand which confines it. Yes, that is 

Her companion then is, of course, Mrs. Pryor ? 

Yes, if Mrs. Pryor owns six feet of stature, and if she 
has changed her decent widow's weeds for masculine disguise. 
The figure walking at Miss Keeldar's side is a man a tall, 
young, stately man it is her tenant, Robert Moore. 

The pair speak softly, their words are not distinguishable: 
to remain a moment to gaze is not to be an eavesdropper ; 
and as the moon shines so clearly and their countenances 
are so distinctly apparent, who can resist the attraction 
of such interest ? Caroline it seems cannot, for she lingers. 

There was a time when, on summer nights, Moore had 
been wont to walk with his cousin, as he was now walking 
with the heiress. Often had she gone up the Hollow with 
him after sunset, to scent the freshness of the earth, where 
a growth of fragrant herbage carpeted a certain narrow 
terrace, edging a deep ravine, from whose rifted gloom was 
heard a sound like the spirit of the lonely watercourse, 
moaning amongst its wet stones, and between its weedy 
banks, and under its dark bower of alders. 

' But I used to be closer to him,' thought Caroline : ' he 
felt no obligation to treat me with homage ; T needed only 
kindness. He used to hold my hand : he does not touch 


hers. And yet Shirley is not proud where she loves. There 
is no haughtiness in her aspect now, only a little in her port ; 
what is natural to and inseparable from her : what she retains 
in her most careless as in her most guarded moments. 
Robert must think, as I think, that he is at this instant 
looking down on a fine face ; and he must think it with a 
man's brain, not with mine. She has such generous, yet 
soft fire in her eyes. She smiles what makes her smile so 
sweet ? I saw that Robert felt its beauty, and he must have 
felt it with his man's heart, not with my dim woman's 
perceptions. They look to me like two great happy spirits : 
yonder silvered pavement reminds me of that white shore 
we believe to be beyond the death-flood : they have reached 
it, they walk there united. And what am I standing 
here in shadow, shrinking into concealment, my mind 
darker than my hiding-place ? I am one of this world, no 
spirit a poor, doomed mortal, who asks, in ignorance and 
hopelessness, wherefore she was born, to what end she lives ; 
whose mind for ever runs on the question, how she shall 
at last encounter, and by whom be sustained through 
death ? 

' This is the worst passage I have come to yet : still I 
was quite prepared for it. I gave Robert up, and I gave 
him up to Shirley, the first day I heard she was come : the 
first moment I saw her rich, youthful, and lovely. She 
has him now : he is her lover ; she is his darling : she will 
be far more his darling yet when they are married : the 
more Robert knows of Shirley, the more his soul will cleave 
to her. They will both be happy, and I do not grudge them 
their bliss ; but I groan under my own misery : some of my 
suffering is very acute. Truly, I ought not to have been 
born : they should have smothered me at the first cry.' 

Here, Shirley stepping aside to gather a dewy flower, 
she and her companion turned into a path that lay nearer 
the gate : some of their conversation became audible. Caro- 
line would not stay to listen : she passed away noiselessly 
and the moonlight kissed tho wall which her shadow had 


dimmed. The reader is privileged to remain, and try what 
he can make of the discourse. 

' I cannot conceive why Nature did not give you a 
bulldog's head, for you have all a bulldog's tenacity,' said 

' Not a flattering idea : am I so ignoble ? ' 

'And something also you have of the same animal's 
silent ways of going about its work : you give no warning ; 
you come noiselessly behind, seize fast, and hold on.' 

'This is guess-work; you have witnessed no such feat 
on my part : in your presence I have been no bulldog.' 

' Your very silence indicates your race. How little you 
talk in general, yet how deeply you scheme ! You are far- 
seeing; you are calculating.' 

' I know the ways of these people. I have gathered 
information of their intentions. My note last night informed 
you that Barraclough's trial had ended in his conviction and 
sentence to transportation : his associates will plot ven- 
geance : I shall lay my plans so as to counteract, or, at least, 
be prepared for theirs ; that is all. Having now given you as 
clear an explanation as I can, am I to understand that for 
what I propose doing I have your approbation ? ' 

' I shall stand by you so long as you remain on the 
defensive. Yes.' 

' Good ! Without any aid even opposed or disapproved 
by you I believe I should have acted precisely as I now 
intend to act ; but in another spirit. I now feel satisfied. 
On the whole, I relish the position.' 

' I dare say you do ; that is evident : you relish the 
work which lies before you still better than you would relish 
the execution of a government order for army-cloth.' 

' I certainly feel it congenial.' 

' So would old Helstone. It is true there is a shade, of 
difference in your motives : many shades, perhaps. Shall I 
speak to Mr. Helstone ? I will, if you like.' 

' Act as you please : your judgment, Miss Kceldar, will 
guide you accurately. I could rely on it myself, in a more 


difficult crisis ; but I should inform you, Mr. Helstone is 
somewhat prejudiced against me at present.' 

' I am aware, I have heard all about your differences : 
depend upon it they will melt away : he cannot resist the 
temptation of an alliance under present circumstances.' 

' I should be glad to have him : he is of true metal.' 

1 1 think so also.' 

1 An old blade, and rusted somewhat ; but the edge and 
temper still excellent.' 

1 Well, you shall have him, Mr. Moore ; that is, if I can 
win him.' 

' Whom can you not win ? ' 

1 Perhaps not the Eector ; but I will make the effort.' 

1 Effort ! He will yield for a word a smile.' 

1 By no means. It will cost me several cups of tea, some 
toast and cake, and an ample measure of remonstrances, 
expostulations, and persuasions. It grows rather chill.' 

' I perceive you shiver. Am I acting wrongly to detain 
you here ? Yet it is so calm : I even feel it warm ; and 
society such as yours is a pleasure to me so rare. If you 
were wrapped in a thicker shawl 

' I might stay longer, and forget how late it is, which 
would chagrin Mrs. Pryor. We keep early and regular 
hours at Fieldhead, Mr. Moore ; and so, I am sure, does your 
sister at the cottage.' 

' Yes ; but Hortense and I have an understanding the most 
convenient in the world, that we shall each do as we please." 

1 How do you please to do ? ' 

' Three nights in the week I sleep in the mill : but I require 
little rest ; and when it is moonlight and mild, I often haunt 
the Hollow till daybreak.' 

'When I was a very little girl, Mr. Moore, my nurse 
used to tell me tales of fairies being seen in that Hollow. 
That was before my father built the mill, when it was a 
perfectly solitary ravine : you will be falling under enchant- 

' I fear it is done,' said iloore, in a low voice. 


' But there are worse things than fairies to be guarded 
against,' pursued Miss Keeldar. 

' Things more perilous,' he subjoined. 

1 Far more so. For instance, how would you like to 
meet Michael Hartley, that mad Calvinist and Jacobin 
weaver? They say he is addicted to poaching, and often 
goes abroad at night with his gun." 

' I have already had the luck to meet him. We held a 
long argument together one night. A strange little incident 
it was : I liked it.' 

' Liked it.? I admire your taste ! Michael is not sane. 
Where did you meet him ? ' 

' In the deepest, shadiest spot in the glen, where the 
water runs low, under brushwood. We sat down near that 
plank bridge. It was moonlight, but clouded, and very windy. 
We had a talk.' 

' On politics ? ' 

' And religion. I think the moon was at the full, and 
Michael was as near crazed as possible : he uttered strange 
blasphemy in his Antinomian fashion.' 

' Excuse me, but I think you must have been nearly as 
mad as he, to sit listening to him.' 

' There is a wild interest in his ravings. The man would 
be half a poet, if he were not wholly a maniac ; and perhaps 
a prophet, if he were not a profligate. He solemnly informed 
me that hell was fore-ordained my inevitable portion ; that 
he read the mark of the beast on my brow ; that I had been 
an outcast from the beginning. God's vengeance, he said, 
was preparing for me, and he affirmed that in a vision of the 
night he had beheld the manner and the instrument of my 
doom. I wanted to know further, but he left me with these 
words, " The end is not yet." ' 

' Have you ever seen him since ? ' 

' About a month afterwards, in returning from market, I 
encountered him and Moses Barraclough both in an advanced 
stage of inebriation : they were praying in frantic sort at the 
roadside. They accosted me as Satan, hid me avaunt, and 


clamoured to be delivered from temptation. Again, but a 
few days ago, Michael took the trouble of appearing at the 
counting-house door, hatless, in his shirt-sleeves, his coat 
and castor having been detained at the public-house in 
pledge ; he delivered himself of the comfortable message 
that he could wish Mr. Moore to set his house in order, as 
his soul was likely shortly to be required of him.' 

1 Do you make light of these things ? ' 

1 The poor man had been drinking for weeks, and was in 
a state bordering on delirium tremens.' 

' What then ? He is the more likely to attempt the ful- 
filment of his own prophecies.' 

' It would not do to permit incidents of this sort to affect 
one's nerves.' 

' Mr. Moore, go home ! ' 

' So soon ? ' 

' Pass straight down the fields, not round by the lane and 

I It is early yet.' 

' It is late : for my part I am going in. Will you promise 
me not to wander in the Hollow to-night ? ' 
' If you wish it.' 

I 1 do wish it. May I ask whether you consider life 
valueless ? ' 

' By no means : on the contrary, of late I regard my life 
as invaluable.' 

' Of late ? ' 

1 Existence is neither aimless nor hopeless to me now ; 
and it was both three months ago. I was then drowning, 
and rather wished the operation over. All at once a hand 
was stretched to me, such a delicate hand, I scarcely dared 
trust it its strength, however, has rescued me from ruin.' 

' Are you really rescued ? ' 

1 For the time : your assistance has given me another 

' Live to make the best of it. Don't offer yourself as a 
target to Michael Hartley, and good-night ! ' 


Miss Helstone was under a promise to spend the evening 
of the next day at Fieldhead : she kept her promise. Some 
gloomy hours had she spent in the interval. Most of the 
time had been passed shut up in her own apartment ; only 
issuing from it, indeed, to join her uncle at meals, and 
anticipating inquiries from Fanny by telling her that she 
was busy altering a dress, and preferred sewing up-stairs, to 
avoid interruption. 

She did sew : she plied her needle continuously, cease- 
lessly ; but her brain worked faster than her fingers. Again, 
and more intensely than ever, she desired a fixed occupation, 
no matter how onerous, how irksome. Her uncle must 
be once more entreated, but first she would consult Mrs. 
Pryor. Her head laboured to frame projects as diligently 
as her hands to plait and stitch the thin texture of the 
muslin summer dress spread on the little white couch at the 
foot of which she sat. Now and then, while thus doubly 
occupied, a tear would fill her eyes and fall on her busy 
hands ; but this sign of emotion was rare, and quickly 
effaced : the sharp pang passed, the dimness cleared from 
her vision ; she would re-thread her needle, re-arrange tuck 
and trimming, and work on. 

Late in the afternoon she dressed herself : she reached 
Fieldhead, and appeared in the oak parlour just as tea was 
brought in. Shirley asked her why she came so late. 

4 Because I have been making my dress,' said she. 
4 These fine sunny days began to make me ashamed of 
my winter merino ; so I have furbished up a lighter gar- 

In which you look as I like to see you," said Shirley. 
' You are a lady-like little person, Caroline : is she not, Mrs. 
Pryor ? ' 

Mrs. Pryor never paid compliments, and seldom indulged 
in remarks, favourable or otherwise, on personal appearance. 
On the present occasion she only swept Caroline's curls 
from her cheek as she took a seat near her, caressed the 
oval omliue, and observed, ' You get somewhat thin, my 


love, and somewhat pale. Do you sleep well ? Your eyes 
have a languid look ; ' and she gazed at her anxiously. 

' I sometimes dream melancholy dreams," answered 
Caroline ; ' and if I lie awake for an hour or two in the 
night, I am continually thinking of the Eectory as a dreary 
old place. You know it is very near the churchyard : the 
back part of the house is extremely ancient, and it is said 
that the out-kitchens there were once enclosed in the church- 
yard, and that there are graves under them. I rather long to 
leave the Eectory.' 

' My dear ! You are surely not superstitious ? ' 

' No, Mrs. Pryor ; but I think I grow what is called 
nervous. I see things under a darker aspect than I used to 
do. I have fears I never used to have not of ghosts, but 
of omens and disastrous events ; and I have an inexpressible 
weight on my mind which I would give the world to shake 
off, and I cannot do it.' 

' Strange ! ' cried Shirley. ' I never feel so.' Mrs. Pryor 
said nothing. 

' Fine weather, pleasant days, pleasant scenes are power- 
less to give me pleasure,' continued Caroline. ' Calm even- 
ings are not calm to me : moonlight, which I used to think 
mild, now only looks mournful. Is this weakness of mind, 
Mrs. Pryor, or what is it ? I cannot help it : I often struggle 
against it : I reason : but reason and effort make no difference.' 

' You should take more exercise,' said Mrs. Pryor. 

1 Exercise ! I exercise sufficiently : I exercise till I am 
ready to drop.' 

1 My dear, you should go from home.' 

' Mrs. Pryor, I should like to go from home, but not on 
any purposeless excursion or visit. I wish to be a governess 
as you have been. It would oblige me greatly if you w r ould 
speak to my uncle on the subject.' 

' Nonsense ! ' broke in Shirley. ' What an idea ! Be a 
governess ! Better be a slave at once. Where is the 
necessity of it ? Why should you dream of such a painful 
step ? ' 

' My dear,' said Mrs. Pryor, ' you are very young to be a 
governess, and not sufficiently robust : the duties a governess 
undertakes are often severe.' 

' And I believe I want severe duties to occupy me.' 

' Occupy you ! ' cried Shirley. ' When are you idle ? I 
never saw a more industrious girl than you : you are always 
at work. Come,' she continued, 'come and sit by my 
side, and take some tea to refresh you. You don't care 
much for my friendship, then, that you wish to leave me ? ' 

' Indeed, I do, Shirley : and I don't wish to leave you. I 
shall never find another friend so dear.' 

At which words Miss Keeldar put her hand into Caroline's 
with an impulsively affectionate movement, which was well 
seconded by the expression of her face. 

1 If you think so, you had better make much of me,' she 
said, ' and not run away from me. I hate to part with those 
to whom I am become attached. Mrs. Pryor there some- 
times talks of leaving me, and says I might make a more 
advantageous connection than herself. I should as soon 
think of exchanging an old-fashioned mother for something 
modish and stylish. As for you why I began to flatter 
myself we were thoroughly friends ; that you liked Shirley 
almost as well as Shirley likes you : and she does not stint 
her regard.' 

' I do like Shirley : I like her more and more every day ; 
but that does not make me strong or happy.' 

1 And would it make you strong or happy to go and live 
as a dependent amongst utter strangers ? It would not ; 
and the experiment must not be tried. I tell you it would 
fail : it is not in your nature to bear the desolate life gover- 
nesses generally lead : you would fall ill : I won't hear 
of it.' 

And Miss Keeldar paused, having uttered this prohibition 
very decidedly. Soon she recommenced, still looking some- 
what ' courroucee ' : ' Why, it is my daily pleasure now to 
look out for the little cottage bonnet and the silk scarf 
glancing through the trees in the lane, and to know that my 


quiet, shrewd, thoughtful companion and monitress is 
coming back to me : that I shall have her sitting in the room 
to look at, to talk to, or to let alone, as she and I please. 
This may be a selfish sort of language I know it is ; but it 
is the language which naturally rises to my lips ; therefore I 
utter it.' 

1 1 would write to you, Shirley.' 

1 And what are letters ? Only a sort of pis-aller. Drink 
some tea, Caroline : eat something you eat nothing ; laugh 
and be cheerful, and stay at home.' 

Miss Helstone shook her head and sighed. She felt 
what difficulty she would have to persuade any one to assist 
or sanction her in making that change in her life which she 
believed desirable. Might she only follow her own judg- 
ment, she thought she should be able to find, perhaps a 
harsh, but an effectual cure for her sufferings. But this 
judgment, founded on circumstances she could fully explain 
to none, least of all to Shirley, seemed, in all eyes but her 
own, incomprehensible and fantastic, and was opposed 

There really was no present pecuniary need for her to 
leave a comfortable home and ' take a situation ; ' and there 
was every probability that her uncle might in some way 
permanently provide for her. So her friends thought, and, 
as far as their lights enabled them to see, they reasoned 
correctly : but of Caroline's strange sufferings, which she 
desired so eagerly to overcome or escape, they had no idea, 
of her racked nights and dismal days, no suspicion. It was 
at once impossible and hopeless to explain : to wait and 
endure was her only plan. Many that want food and 
clothing have cheerier lives and brighter prospects than she 
had ; many, harassed by poverty, are in a strait less afflictive. 

1 Now, is your mind quieted ? ' inquired Shirley. ' Will 
you consent to stay at home ? ' 

' I shall not leave it against the approbation of my 
friends, 1 was the reply ; ' but I think in time they will be 
obliged to think as I do.' 

During this conversation Mrs. Pryor looked far from 
easy. Her extreme habitual reserve would rarely permit 
her to talk freely, or to interrogate others closely. She 
could think a multitude of questions she never ventured to 
put ; give advice in her mind which her tongue never 
delivered. Had she been alone with Caroline, she might 
possibly have said something to the point : Miss Keeldar's 
presence, accustomed as she was to it, sealed her lips. Now, 
as on a thousand other occasions, inexplicable nervous 
scruples kept her back from interfering. She merely showed 
her concern for Miss Helstone in an indirect way, by asking 
her if the fire made her too warm, placing a screen between 
her chair and the hearth, closing a window whence she 
imagined a draught proceeded, and often and restlessly 
glancing at her. Shirley resumed, ' Having destroyed 
your plan,' she said, ' which I hope I have done, I shall 
construct a new one of my own. Every summer I make an 
excursion. This season I propose spending two months 
either at the Scotch lochs or the English lakes : that is, I 
shall go there, provided you consent to accompany me : if 
you refuse, I shall not stir a foot.' 

' You are very good, Shirley.' 

' I would be very good if you would let me : I have 
every disposition to be good. It is my misfortune and habit, 
I know, to think of myself paramount to anybody else : but 
who is not like me in that respect? However, when 
Captain Keeldar is made comfortable, accommodated with 
all he wants, including a sensible genial comrade, it gives 
him a thorough pleasure to devote his spare efforts to 
making that comrade happy. And should we not be happy, 
Caroline, in the Highlands? We will go to the Highlands. 
We will, if you can bear a sea-voyage, go to the Isles, 
the Hebrides, the Shetland, the Orkney Islands. Would 
you not like that ? I see you would : Mrs. Pryor, I call 
you to witness ; her face is all sunshine at the bare mention 
of it.' 

' I should like it much,' returned Caroline ; to whom, 


indeed, the notion of such a tour was not only pleasant, but 
gloriously reviving. Shirley rubbed her hands. 

' Come, I can bestow a benefit,' she exclaimed. ' I can 
do a good deed with my cash. My thousand a year is not 
merely a matter of dirty bank-notes and jaundiced guineas 
(let me speak respectfully of both though, for I adore them) ; 
but, it may be, health to the drooping, strength to the weak, 
consolation to the sad. I was determined to make some- 
thing of it better than a fine old house to live in, than satin 
gowns to wear ; better than deference from acquaintance, 
and homage from the poor. Here is to begin. This summer 
Caroline, Mrs. Pryor, and I go out into the North 
Atlantic, beyond the Shetland perhaps to the Faroe Isles. 
We will see seals in Suderoe, and, doubtless, mermaids in 
Stromoe. Caroline is laughing, Mrs. Pryor : I made her 
laugh ; I have done her good.' 

'I shall like to go, Shirley,' again said Miss Helstone. 
1 1 long to hear the sound of waves ocean-waves, and to 
see them as I have imagined them in dreams, like tossing 
banks of green light, strewed with vanishing and re-appear- 
ing wreaths of foam, whiter than lilies. I shall delight to 
pass the shores of those lone rock-islets where the sea- 
birds live and breed unmolested. We shall be on the track 
of the old Scandinavians of the Norsemen: we shall 
almost see the shores of Norway. This is a very vague 
delight that I feel, communicated by your proposal, but it is 
a delight.' 

1 Will you think of Fitful-Head now, when you lie awake 
at night ; of gulls shrieking round it, and waves tumbling 
in upon it, rather than of the graves under the Rectory back- 
kitchen '? ' 

' I will try ; and instead of musing about remnants of 
shrouds, and fragments of coffins, and human bones and 
mould, I will fancy seals lying in the sunshine on solitary 
shores, where neither fisherman nor hunter ever comes : of 
rock-crevices full of pearly eggs, bedded in sea-weed ; of 
unscared birds covering white sands in happy flocks,' 


I And what will become of that inexpressible weight you 
said you had on your mind ? ' 

' I will try to forget it in speculation on the sway of the 
whole Great Deep above a herd of whales rushing through 
the livid and liquid thunder down from the frozen zone : a 
hundred of them, perhaps, wallowing, flashing, rolling in 
the wake of a patriarch bull, huge enough to have been 
spawned before the Flood : such a creature as poor Smart 
had in his mind when he said, 

Strong against tides the enormous whale 
Emerges as he goes.' 

' I hope our bark will meet with no such shoal, or herd, 
as you term it, Caroline : (I suppose you fancy the sea- 
mammoths pasturing about the bases of the " everlasting 
hills," devouring strange provinder in the vast valleys 
through and above which sea-billows roll). I should not 
like to be capsized by the patriarch bull.' 

I 1 suppose you expect to see mermaids, Shirley ? ' 

1 One of them at any rate : I do not bargain for less : and 
she is to appear in some such fashion as this. I am to be 
walking by myself on deck, rather late of an August evening, 
watching and being watched by a full harvest-moon : 
something is to rise white on the surface of the sea, over 
which that moon mounts silent, and hangs glorious : the 
object glitters and sinks. It rises again. I think I hear it 
cry with an articulate voice : I call you up from the cabin : 
I show you an image, fair as alabaster, emerging from the 
dim wave. We both see the long hair, the lifted and foam- 
white arm, the oval mirror, brilliant as a star. It glides 
nearer : a human face is plainly visible ; a face in the style. 
of yours, whose straight, pure (excuse the word, it is appro- 
priate), whose straight, pure lineaments, paleness does not 
disfigure. It looks at us, but not with your eyes. I see a 
preternatural lure in its wily glance : it beckons. Were we 
men, we should spring at the sign, the cold billow would be 
dared for the sake of the colder enchantress ; being women, 


we stand safe, though not dreadless. She comprehends our 
unmoved gaze ; shef eels herself powerless ; anger crosses her 
front ; she cannot charm, but she will appal us : she rises high, 
and glides all revealed, on the dark wave-ridge. Temptress- 
terror ! monstrous likeness of ourselves ! Are you not glad, 
Caroline, when at last, and with a wild shriek, she dives ? ' 

' But, Shirley, she is not like us : we are neither temp- 
tresses, nor terrors, nor monsters.' 

' Some of our kind, it is said, are all three. There are 
men who ascribe to " woman," in general, such attributes.' 

'My dears,' here interrupted Mrs. Pryor, 'does it not 
strike you that your conversation for the last ten minutes 
has been rather fanciful ? ' 

' But there is no harm in our fancies : is there, ma'am ? ' 

' We are aware that mermaids do not exist : why speak of 
them as if they did ? How can you find interest in speaking 
of a nonentity ? ' 

' I don't know,' said Shirley. 

' My dear, I think there is an arrival. I heard a step in 
the lane, while you were talking ; and is not that the garden- 
gate which creaks ? ' 

Shirley stepped to the window. 

' Yes, there is some one,' said she, turning quietly away ; 
and, as she resumed her seat, a sensitive flush animated 
her face, while a trembling ray at once kindled and softened 
her eye. She raised her hand to her chin, cast her gaze 
down, and seemed to think as she waited. 

The servant announced Mr. Moore, and Shirley turned 
round when Mr. Moore appeared at the door. His figure 
seemed very tall as he entered, and stood in contrast with 
the three ladies, none of whom could boast a stature much 
beyond the average. He was looking well, better than he 
had been known to look for the past twelve months : a sort 
of renewed youth glowed in his eye and colour, and an 
invigorated hope and settled purpose sustained his bearing : 
firmness his countenance still indicated, but not austerity : 
it looked as cheerful as it was earnest. 


' I am just returned from Stilbro',' he said to Miss 
Keeldar, as he greeted her ; ' and I thought I would call to 
impart to you the result of my mission.' 

' You did right not to keep me in suspense,' she said ; 
' and your visit is well-timed. Sit down : we have not 
finished tea. Are you English enough to relish tea ; or do 
you faithfully adhere to coffee ? ' 

Moore accepted tea. 

' I am learning to be a naturalised Englishman,' said he ; 
' my foreign habits are leaving me one by one.' 

And now he paid his respects to Mrs. Pryor, and paid 
them well, with a grave modesty that became his age, com- 
pared with hers. Then he looked at Caroline not, however, 
for the first time his glance had fallen upon her before : he 
bent towards her as she sat, gave her his hand, and asked her 
how she was. The light from the window did not fall upon Miss 
Helstone, her back was turned towards it : a quiet though 
rather low reply, a still demeanour, and the friendly protec- 
tion of early twilight, kept out of view each traitorous 
symptom. None could affirm that she had trembled or blushed, 
that her heart had quaked, or her nerves thrilled : none 
could prove emotion : a greeting showing less effusion was 
never interchanged. Moore took the empty chair near her, 
opposite Miss Keeldar. He had placed himself well : his 
neighbour, screened by the very closeness of his vicinage 
from his scrutiny, and sheltered further by the dusk which 
deepened eacli moment, soon regained, not merely seeming, 
but real mastery of the feelings which had started into 
insurrection at the first announcement of his name. 
He addressed his conversation to Miss Keeldar. 
' I went to the barracks,' he said, ' and had an interview 
with Colonel Ryde : he approved my plans, and promised 
the aid I wanted : indeed, he offered a more numerous force 
than I require half-a-dozen will suffice. I don't intend to 
be swamped by red-coats ; they are needed for appearance 
rather than anything else : my main reliance is on my own 


' And on their Captain,' intei-posed Shirley. 

'What, Captain Keeldar?' inquired Moore, slightly 
smiling, and not lifting his eyes : the tone of raillery in which 
he said this was very respectful and suppressed. 

' No,' returned Shii'ley, answering the smile ; ' Captain 
Gerard Moore, who trusts much to the prowess of his own 
right arm, I believe." 

' Furnished with his counting-house ruler,' added Moore. 
Resuming his usual gravity, he went on : ' I received by this 
evening's post a note from the Home-Secretary in answer to 
mine : it appears they are uneasy at the state of matters here 
in the north ; they especially condemn the supineness and 
pusillanimity of the mill-owners ; they say, as I have always 
said, that inaction, under present circumstances, is criminal, 
and that cowardice is cruelty, since both can only encourage 
disorder, and lead finally to sanguinary outbreaks. There is 
the note : I brought it for your perusal ; and there is a batch 
of newspapers, containing further accounts of proceedings 
in Nottingham, Manchester, and elsewhere.' 

He produced letters and journals, and laid them before 
Miss Keeldar. While she perused them, he took his tea 
quietly ; but, though his tongue was still, his observant 
faculties seemed by no means off duty. Mrs. Pryor, sitting 
in the background, did not come within the range of his 
glance, but the two younger ladies had the full benefit thereof. 

Miss Keeldar, placed directly opposite, was seen without 
effort : she was the object his eyes, when lifted, naturally 
met first ; and, as what remained of daylight the gilding of 
the west was upon her, her shape rose in relief from the 
dark panelling behind. Shirley's clear cheek was tinted yet 
with the colour which had risen into it a few minutes since : 
the dark lashes of her eyes looking down as she read, the 
dusk yet delicate line of her eyebrows, the almost sable gloss 
of her curls, made her heightened complexion look fine as 
the bloom of a red wild-flower, by contrast. There was 
natural grace in her attitude, and there was artistic effect in 
the ample and shining foils of her silk dress- an attire 

simply fashioned, but almost splendid from the shifting 
brightness of its dye, warp and woof being of tints deep and 
changing as the hue on a pheasant's neck. A glancing 
bracelet on her arm produced the contrast of gold and ivory : 
there was something brilliant in the whole picture. It is to 
be supposed that Moore thought so, as his eye dwelt long on 
it, but he seldom permitted his feelings or his opinions to 
exhibit themselves in his face : his temperament boasted a 
certain amount of phlegm, and he preferred an undemon- 
strative, not ungentle, but serious aspect, to any other. 

He could not, by looking straight before him, see Caroline, 
as she was close at his side ; it was necessary, therefore, to 
manoeuvre a little to get her well within the range of his 
observation : he leaned back in his chair, and looked down 
on her. In Miss Helstone, neither he nor any one else 
could discover brilliancy. Sitting in the shade, without 
flowers or ornaments, her attire the modest muslin dress, 
colourless but for its narrow stripe of pale azure, her 
complexion unflushed, unexcited, the very bvownness of her 
hair and eyes invisible by this faint light, she was, compared 
with the heiress, as a graceful pencil-sketch compared with 
a vivid painting. Since Robert had seen her last, a great 
change had been wrought in her ; whether he perceived 
it, might not be ascertained : he said nothing to that 

' How is Hortense ? ' asked Caroline softly. 

' Very well ; but she complains of being unemployed ; 
she misses you.' 

1 Tell her that I miss her, and that I write and read a 
portion of French every day.' 

' She will ask if you sent your love : she is always 
particular on that point. You know she likes attention.' 

1 My best love my very best ; and say to her, that 
whenever she has time to write me a little note, I shall be 
glad to hear from her.' 

' What if I forget ? I am not the surest messenger of 


' No, don't forget, Eobert : it is no compliment it is in 
good earnest.' 

' And must therefore be delivered punctually ? ' 

' If you please.' 

' Hortense will be ready to shed tears. She is tender- 
hearted on the subject of her pupil ; yet she reproaches you 
sometimes for obeying your uncle's injunctions too literally. 
Affection, like love, will be unjust now and then.' 

And Caroline made no answer to this observation ; for 
indeed her heart was troubled, and to her eyes she would 
have raised her handkerchief, if she had dared. If she had 
dared, too, she would have declared how the very flowers in 
the garden of Hollow's cottage were dear to her ; how the 
little parlour of that house was her earthly paradise ; how 
she longed to return to it, as much almost as the First 
Woman, in her exile, must have longed to revisit Eden. 
Not daring, however, to say these things, she held her peace : 
she sat quiet at Kobert's side, waiting for him to say some- 
thing more. It was long since this proximity had been hers 
long since his voice had addressed her : could she, with 
any show of probability, even of possibility, have imagined 
that the meeting gave him pleasure, to her it would have 
given deep bliss. Yet, even in doubt that it pleased in 
dread that it might annoy him she received the boon of the 
meeting as an imprisoned bird would the admission of sun- 
shine to its cage : it was of no use arguing contending 
against the sense of present happiness : to be near Robert 
was to be revived. 

Miss Keeldar laid down the papers. 

' And are you glad or sad for all these menacing tidings ? ' 
she inquired of her tenant. 

' Not precisely either ; but I certainly am instructed. I 
see that our only plan is to be firm. I see that efficient 
preparation and a resolute attitude are the best means of 
averting bloodshed." 

He then inquired if she had observed some particular 
paragraph, to which she replied in the negative, and he rose 

to show it to her : he continued the conversation standing 
before her. From the tenor of what he said, it appeared 
evident that they both apprehended disturbances in the 
neighbourhood of Briarfield, though in what form they 
expected them to break out was not specified. Neither 
Caroline nor Mrs. Pryor asked questions : the subject did 
not appear to be regarded as one ripe for free discussion ; 
therefore the lady and her tenant were suffered to keep 
details to themselves, unimportuned by the curiosity of 
their listeners. 

Miss Keeldar, in speaking to Mr. Moore, took a tone at 
once animated and dignified, confident! aland self-respecting. 
When, however, the candles were brought in, and the fire 
was stirred up, and the fulness of light thus produced 
rendered the expression of her countenance legible, you 
could see that she was all interest, life, and earnestness : 
there was nothing coquettish in her demeanour : whatever 
she felt for Moore, she felt it seriously. And serious, too, 
were his feelings, and settled were his views, apparently; 
for he made no petty effort to attract, dazzle, or impress. 
He contrived, notwithstanding, to command a little ; 
because the deeper voice, however mildly modulated, the 
somewhat harder mind, now and then, though involun- 
tarily and unintentionally, bore down by some peremptory 
phrase or tone the mellow accents and susceptible, if 
high, nature of Shirley. Miss Keeldar looked happy in 
conversing with him, and her joy seemed twofold, a joy of 
the past and present, of memory and of hope. 

What I have just said are Caroline's ideas of the pair: 
she felt what has just been described. In thus feeling, she 
tried not to suffer ; but suffered sharply, nevertheless. She 
suffered, indeed, miserably : a few minutes before, her 
famished heart had tasted a drop and crumb of nourishment 
that, if freely given, would have brought back abundance of 
life where life was failing ; but the generous feast was 
snatched from her, spread before another, and she remained 
but a bystander at the banquet. 


The clock struck nine : it was Caroline's time for going 
home : she gathered up her work, put the embroidery, the 
scissors, the thimble into her bag : she bade Mrs. Pryor a 
quiet good-night, receiving from that lady a warmer pressure 
of the hand than usual : she stepped up to Miss Keeldar. 

' Good-night, Shirley ! ' 

Shirley started up. ' What 1 BO soon ? Are you going 
already ? ' 

' It is past nine.' 

'I never heard the clock. You will come again to- 
morrow, and you will be happy to-night, will you not? 
Remember our plans.' 

' Yes,' said Caroline ; ' I have not forgotten.' 

Her mind misgave her that neither those plans nor any 
other could permanently restore her mental tranquillity. 
She turned to Robert, who stood close behind her : as he 
looked up, the light of the candles on the mantelpiece fell 
full on her face : all its paleness, all its change, all its for- 
lorn meaning were clearly revealed. Robert had good eyes, 
and might have seen it, if he would : whether he did see it, 
nothing indicated. 

' Good-night ! ' she said, shaking like a leaf, offering her 
thin hand hastily, anxious to part from him quickly. 

1 You are going home ? ' he asked, not touching her hand. 

I Yes.' 

' Is Fanny come for you ? ' 

I 1 may as well accompany you a step of the way : not 
up to the Rectory, though, lest my old friend, Helstone, 
should shoot me from the window.' 

He laughed and took his hat. Caroline spoke of 
unnecessary trouble : he told her to put on her bonnet and 
shawl. She was quickly ready, and they were soon both in 
the open air. Moore drew her hand under his arm, just in 
his old manner, that manner which she ever felt to be so 

' You may run on, Fanny,' he said to the housemaid ; 


' we shall overtake you : ' and when the girl had got a little 
in advance, he enclosed Caroline's hand in his, and said he 
was glad to find she was a familiar guest at Fieldhead : he 
hoped her intimacy with Miss Keeldar would continue ; 
such society would be both pleasant and improving. 

Caroline replied that she liked Shirley. 

' And there is no doubt the liking is mutual,' said Moore : 
' if she professes friendship, be certain she is sincere : she 
cannot feign ; she scorns hypocrisy. And, Caroline, are we 
never to see you at Hollow's cottage again ? ' 

'I suppose not, unless my uncle should change his 

' Are you much alone now ? ' 

' Yes ; a good deal. I have little pleasure in any society 
but Miss Keeldar's.' 

' Have you been quite well lately ? ' 

' Quite.' 

' You must take care of yourself. Be sure not to neglect 
exercise. Do you know I fancied you somewhat altered ; 
a little fallen away, and pale ? Is your uncle kind to you ? ' 

' Yes, he is just as he always is.' 

' Not too tender, that is to say ; not too protective and 
attentive. And what ails you, then ? tell me Lina.' 

' Nothing, Robert : ' but her voice faltered. 

' That is to say, nothing that you will tell me : I am not 
to be taken into confidence. Separation is then quite to 
estrange us, is it ? ' 

' I do not know : sometimes I almost fear it is.' 

' But it ought not to have that effect. " Should auld 
acquaintance be forgot, and days o* lang syne ? " 

' Robert, I don't forget.' 

1 It is two months, I should think, Caroline, since you 
were at the cottage.' 

' Since I was within it yes.' 

I Have you ever passed that way in your walk ? ' 

I 1 have come to the top of the fields sometimes of an 
evening, and looked down. Once I saw Hortense in the 


garden watering her flowers, and I know at what time you 
light your lamp in the counting-house : I have waited for it 
to shine out now and then ; and I have seen you bend 
between it and the window : I knew it was you I could 
almost trace the outline of your form.' 

' I wonder I never encountered you : I occasionally walk 
to the top of the Hollow's fields after sunset.' 

' I know you do : I had almost spoken to you one night, 
you passed so near me.' 

' Did I ? I passed near you, and did not see you ! Was 
I alone ? ' 

' I saw you twice, and neither time were you alone.' 

1 Who was my companion ? Probably no one but Joe 
Scott, or my own shadow by moonlight.' 

' No ; neither Joe Scott nor your shadow, Robert. The 
first time you were with Mr. Yorke ; and the second time 
what you call your shadow was a shape with a white fore- 
head and dark curls, and a sparkling necklace round its 
neck ; but I only just got a glimpse of you and that fairy 
shadow : I did not wait to hear you converse.' 

' It appears you walk invisible. I noticed a ring on 
your hand this evening ; can it be the ring of Gygcs ? 
Henceforth, when sitting in the counting-house by myself, 
perhaps at dead of night, I shall permit myself to imagine 
that Caroline may be leaning over my shoulder reading with 
me from the same book, or sitting at my side engaged in her 
own particular task, and now and then raising her unseen 
eyes to my face to read there my thoughts.' 

' You need fear no such infliction : I do not come near 
you : I only stand afar off, watching what may become of you. 

' When I walk out along the hedgerows in the evening 
after the mill is shut- or at night, when I take the watch - 
man's place I shall fancy the flutter of every little bird 
over its nest, the rustle of every leaf, a movement made by 
you ; tree-shadows will take your shape ; in the white sprays 
of hawthorn, I shall imagine glimpses of you. Lina, you 
will haunt me.' 


' I will never be where you would not wish me to be, nor 
see nor hear what you would wish unseen and unheard.' 

' I shall see you in my very mill in broad daylight : 
indeed, I have seen you there once. But a week ago, I was 
standing at the top of one of my long rooms, girls were 
working at the other end, and amongst half a dozen of them, 
moving to and fro, I seemed to see a figure resembling yours. 
It was some effect of doubtful light or shade, or of dazzling 
sunbeam. I walked up to this group ; what I sought had 
glided away : I found myself between two buxom lasses in 

' I shall not follow you into your mill, Robert, unless you 
call me there.' 

' Nor is that the only occasion on which imagination has 
played me a trick. One night, when I came home late from 
market, I walked into the cottage parlour thinking to find 
Hortense ; but instead of her, I thought I found you. 
There was no candle in the room : my sister had taken the 
light upstairs with her ; the window-blind was not drawn, 
and broad moonbeams poured through the panes ; there you 
were, Lina, at the casement, shrinking a little to one side in 
an attitude not unusual with you. You were dressed in 
white, as I have seen you dressed at an evening-party. For 
half a second, your fresh, living face seemed turned towards 
me, looking at me ; for half a second, my idea was to go and 
take your hand, to chide you for your long absence, and 
welcome your present visit. Two steps forward broke the 
spell : the drapery of the dress changed outline ; the tints 
of the complexion dissolved, and were formless : positively, 
as 1 reached the spot, there was nothing left but the sweep 
of a white muslin curtain, and a balsam plant in a 
flower-pot, covered with a blush of bloom " sic transit," et 

' It was not my wraith, then ? I almost thought it 

' No ; only gauze, crockery, and pink blossom : a sample 
of earthly illusions.' 


1 1 wonder you have time for such illusions, occupied as 
your mind must be.' 

' So do I. But I find in myself, Lina, two natures ; one 
for the world and business, and one for home and leisure. 
Gerard Moore is a hard dog, brought up to mill and market : 
the person you call your cousin Robert is sometimes a dreamer, 
who lives elsewhere than in Cloth-hall and counting-house.' 

'Your two natures agree with you: I think you are 
looking in good spirits and health : you have quite lost that 
harassed air which it often pained one to see in your face a 
few months ago.' 

' Do you observe that ? Certainly, I am disentangled of 
some difficulties : I have got clear of some shoals, and have 
more sea-room.' 

' And, with a fair wind, you may now hope to make a 
prosperous voyage ? ' 

1 1 may Jwpe it yes but hope is deceptive : there is no 
controlling wind or wave : gusts and swells perpetually 
trouble the mariner's course ; he dare not dismiss from his 
mind the expectation of tempest.' 

' But you are ready for a breeze you are a good seaman 
an able commander : you are a skilful pilot, Robert : you 
will weather the storm.' 

' My kinswoman always thinks the best of me, but I will 
take her words for a propitious omen ; J will consider that 
in meeting her to-night, I have met with one of those birds 
whose appearance is to the sailor the harbinger of good- 

' A poor harbinger of good-luck is she who can do 
nothing who has no power. I feel my incapacity '. it is of 
no use saying I have the will to serve you, when I cannot 
prove it ; yet I have that will. I wish you success ; I wish 
you high fortune and true happiness.' 

' When did you ever wish me anything else ? What is 
Fanny waiting for I told her to walk on ? Oh ! we have 
reached the churchyard : then, we are to part here, I 
suppose : we might have sat a few minutes in the church- 


porch, if the girl had not been with us. It is so fine a night, 
so summer-mild and still, I have no particular wish to 
return yet to the Hollow.' 

'But we cannot sit in the porch now, Robert.' 

Caroline said this because Moore was turning her round 
towards it. 

' Perhaps not, but tell Fanny to go in ; say we are coming : 
a few minutes will make no difference.' 

The church-clock struck ten. 

' My uncle will be coming out to take his usual sentinel 
round, and he always surveys the church and churchyard. 1 

1 And if he does ? If it were not for Fanny, who knows 
we are here, I should find pleasure in dodging and eluding 
him. We could be under the east window when he is at the 
porch ; as he came round to the north side, we could wheel 
off to the south ; we might at a pinch hide behind some of 
the monuments : that tall erection of the Wynnes would 
screen us completely.' 

1 Robert, what good spirits you have ! Go go ! ' added 
Caroline hastily, ' I hear the front door ' 

' I don't want to go ; on the contrary, I want to stay.' 

' You know my uncle will be terribly angry : he forbade 
me to see you because you are a Jacobin.' 

' A queer Jacobin ! ' 

' Go, Robert, he is coming ; I hear him cough.' 

' Diable 1 It is strange what a pertinacious wish I 
feel to stay ! ' 

' You remember what he did to Fanny's ' began 

Caroline, and stopped abruptly short. Sweetheart was the 
word that ought to have followed, but she could not utter it ; 
it seemed calculated to suggest ideas she had no intention 
to suggest ; ideas delusive and disturbing. Moore was less 
scrupulous ; ' Fanny's sweetheart ? ' he said at once. ' He 
gave him a shower-bath under the pump did he not? He'd 
do as much for me, I daresay, with pleasure. I should like to 
provoke the old Turk- -not however against you : but he would 
make a distinction between a cousin and a lover, would he not ? 


1 Oh ! he would not think of you in that way, of course 
not ; his quarrel with you is entirely political ; yet I should 
not like the breach to be widened, and he is so testy. Here 
he is at the garden-gate for your own sake and mine, 
Robert, go ! ' 

The beseeching words were aided by a beseeching 
gesture and a more beseeching look. Moore covered her 
clasped hands an instant with his, answered her upward by 
a downward gaze, said ' Good-night ! ' and went. 

Caroline was in a moment at the kitchen-door behind 
Fanny; the shadow of the shovel-hat at that very instant 
fell on a moonlit tomb ; the Rector emerged, erect as a cane, 
from his garden, and proceeded in slow march, his hands 
behind him, down the cemetery. Moore was almost caught : 
he had to ' dodge ' after all, to coast round the church, and 
finally to bend his tall form behind the Wynnes' ambitious 
monument. There he was forced to hide full ten minutes, 
kneeling with one knee on the turf, his hat off, his curls bare 
to the dew, his dark eye shining, and his lips parted with 
inward laughter at his position : for the Rector meantime 
stood coolly star-gazing, and taking snuff within three feet 
of him. 

It happened, however, that Mr. Helstone had no suspicion 
whatever on his mind ; for being usually but vaguely 
informed of his niece's movements, not thinking it worth 
while to follow them closely, he was not aware that she had 
been out at all that day, and imagined her then occupied 
with book or work in her chamber : where, indeed, she was 
by this time ; though not absorbed in the tranquil employ- 
ment he ascribed to her, but standing at her window with 
fast-throbbing heart, peeping anxiously from behind the 
blind, watching for her uncle to re-enter and her cousin to 
escape ; and at last she was gratified ; she heard Mr. Hel- 
stone come in ; she saw Robert stride the tombs and vault 
the wall ; she then went down to prayers. When sho 
returned to her chamber, it was to meet the memory of 
Robert. Slumber's visitation was long averted: long she 


sat at her lattice, long gazed down on the old garden and 
older church, on the tombs laid out all gray and calm, and 
clear in moonlight. She followed the steps of the night, on 
its pathway of stars, far into the ' wee sma' hours ayont the 
twal : ' she was with Moore, in spirit, the whole time : she 
was at his side : she heard his voice : she gave her hand into 
his hand ; it rested warm in his fingers. When the church- 
clock struck, when any other sound stirred, when a little 
mouse familiar to her chamber, an intruder for which she 
would never permit Fanny to lay a trap, came rattling 
amongst the links of her locket chain, her one ring, and 
another trinket or two, on the toilette-table, to nibble a bit 
of biscuit laid ready for it, she looked up, recalled momen- 
tarily to the real. Then she said half aloud, as if deprecating 
the accusation of some unseen and unheard monitor, ' I am 
not cherishing love-dreams : I am only thinking because I 
cannot sleep ; of course, I know he will marry Shirley.' 

With returning silence, with the lull of the chime, and 
the retreat of her small untamed and unknown protg6, she 
still resumed the dream, nestling to the vision's side, 
listening to, conversing with it. It paled at last : as dawn 
approached, the setting stars and breaking day dimmed the 
creation of Fancy : the wakened song of birds hushed her 
whispers. The tale full of fire, quick with interest, borne 
away by the morning wind, became a vague murmur. The 
shape that, seen in a moonbeam, lived, had a pulse, had 
movement, wore health's glow and youth's freshness, turned 
cold and ghostly gray, confronted with the red of sunrise. 
It wasted. She was left solitary at last : she crept to her 
couch, chill and dejected. 



' OF course, I know he will marry Shirley,' were her first 

words when she rose in the morning. ' And he ought to 

marry her : she can help him,' she added firmly. ' But I 

shall be forgotten when they are married," was the cruel 

succeeding thought. ' Oh ! I shall be wholly forgotten ! 

And what what shall I do when Robert is taken quite from 

me? Where shall I turn? My Robert! I wish I could 

justly call him mine : but I am poverty and incapacity ; 

Shirley is wealth and power : and she is beauty too, and 

love I cannot deny it. This is no sordid suit : she loves 

him not with inferior feelings : she loves, or will love, as 

he must feel proud to be loved. Not a valid objection can 

be made. Let them be married then : but afterwards I shall 

be nothing to him. As for being his sister, and all that stuff, 

I despise it. I will either be all or nothing to a man like 

Robert : no feeble shuffling, or false cant, is endurable. 

Once let that pair be united, and I will certainly leave them. 

As for lingering about, playing the hypocrite, and pretending 

to calm sentiments of friendship, when my soul will be 

wrung with other feelings, I shall not descend to such 

degradation. As little could 1 fill the place of their mutual 

friend as that of their deadly foe : as little could I stand 

between them as trample over them. Robert is a first-rate 

man in my eyes : I have loved, do love, and must love him. 

I would be his wife, if I could ; as 1 cannot, 1 must go where 

I shall never see him. There is but one alternative to 

cleave to him as if I were a part ol him, or to be sundered 


from him wide as the two poles of a sphere. Sunder me 
then, Providence. Part us speedily.' 

Some such aspirations as these were again working in 
her mind late in the afternoon, when the apparition of one 
of the personages haunting her thoughts passed the parlour 
window. Miss Keeldar sauntered slowly by : her gait, her 
countenance wearing that mixture of wistfulness and care- 
lessness which, when quiescent, was the wonted cast of her 
look, and character of her bearing. When animated, the 
carelessness quite vanished, the wistfulness became blent 
with a genial gaiety, seasoning the laugh, the smile, the 
glance, with a unique flavour of sentiment, so that mirth 
from her never resembled ' the crackling of thorns under 
a pot.' 

' What do you mean by not coming to see me this after- 
noon, as you promised ? ' was her address to Caroline as she 
entered the room. 

' I was not in the humour,' replied Miss Helstone, very 

Shirley had already fixed on her a penetrating eye. 
' No,' she said : ' I see you are not in the humour for 
loving me : you are in one of your sunless, inclement moods, 
when one feels a fellow-creature's presence is not welcome 
to you. You have such moods : are you aware of it ? ' 
' Do you mean to stay long, Shirley ? ' 
1 Yes : I am come to have my tea, and must have it before 
I go. I shall take the liberty then of removing my bonnet 
without being asked.' 

And this she did, and then stood on the rug with her 
hands behind her. 

' A pretty expression you have in your countenance,' she 
went on, still gazing keenly, though not iniimcally, rather 
indeed pityingly at Caroline. ' Wonderfully self-supported 
you look, you solitude-seeking, wounded deer. Are you 
afraid Shirley will worry you, if she discovers that you are 
hurt, and that you bleed ? ' 
' I never do fear Shirley.' 


'But sometimes you dislike her: often you avoid her. 
Shirley can feel when she is slighted and shunned. If you 
had not walked home in the company you did last night, you 
would have been a different girl to-day. What time did you 
reach the Rectory ? ' 

' By ten.' 

' Humph ! You took three-quarters of an hour to walk a 
mile. Was it you, or Moore, who lingered so ? ' 

' Shirley, you talk nonsense.' 

' He talked nonsense that I doubt not ; or he looked it, 
which is a thousand times worse : I see the reflection of his 
eyes on your forehead at this moment. I feel disposed to call 
him out, if I could only get a trustworthy second : I feel 
desperately irritated : I felt so last night, and have felt it all 

1 You don't ask me why,' she proceeded, after a pause, 
' you little, silent, over-modest thing ; and you don't deserve 
that I should pour out my secrets into your lap without an 
invitation. Upon my word, I could have found it in my 
heart to have dogged Moore yesterday evening with dire 
intent : I have pistols, and can use them.' 

' Stuff, Shirley ? Which would you have shot me or 
Robert ? ' 

' Neither, perhaps perhaps myself more likely a bat 
or a tree-bough. He is a puppy your cousin : a quiet, 
serious, sensible, judicious, ambitious puppy. I see him 
standing before me, talking his half-stern, half-gentle talk, 
bearing me down (as I am very conscious he does) with his 

fixity of purpose, &c. ; and then 1 have no patience with 

him ! ' 

Miss Keeldar started off on a rapid walk through the 
room, repeating energetically that she had no patience with 
men in general, and with her tenant in particular. 

' You are mistaken,' urged Caroline, in some anxiety : 
1 Robert is no puppy or male flirt ; I can vouch for that.' 

' You vouch for it ! Do you think I'll take your word on 
the subject ? There is no one's testimony I would not credit 


sooner than yours. To advance Moore's fortune, you would 
cut off your right hand.' 

1 But not tell lies ; and if I speak the truth, I must assure 
you that he was just civil to me last night that was all.' 

' I never asked what he was I can guess : I saw him 
from the window take your hand in his long fingers, just as 
he went out at my gate.' 

' That is nothing. I am not a stranger, you know : I am 
an old acquaintance, and his cousin.' 

' I feel indignant ; and that is the long and short of the 
matter,' responded Miss Keeldar. ' All my comfort,' she 
added presently, ' is broken up by his manoeuvres. He 
keeps intruding between you and me : without him we 
should be good friends ; but that six feet of puppyhood 
makes a perpetually recurring eclipse of our friendship. 
Again and again he crosses and obscures the disk I want 
always to see clear : ever and anon he renders me to you a 
mere bore and nuisance.' 

' No, Shirley ; no.' 

' He does. You did not want my society this afternoon, 
and I feel it hard ; you are naturally somewhat reserved, 
but I am a social personage, who cannot live alone. If we 
were but left unmolested, I have that regard for you that I 
could bear you in my presence for ever, and not for the 
fraction of a second do I ever wish to be rid of you. You 
cannot say as much respecting me.' 

' Shirley, I can say anything you wish : Shirley, I like 

' You will wish me at Jericho to-morrow, Lina.' 

' I shall not. I am every day growing more accustomed 
to fonder of you. You know I am too English to get up a 
vehement friendship all at once ; but you are so much 
better than common you are so different to everyday young 
ladies I esteem you I value you : you are never a burden 
to me never. Do you believe what I say ? ' 

' Partly,' replied Miss Keeldar, smiling rather incredu- 
lously ; ' but you are a peculiar personage : quiet as you 


look, there is both a force and a depth some wli ere within, 
not easily reached or appreciated : then you certainly are 
not happy.' 

4 And unhappy people are rarely good is that what you 
mean ? ' 

' Not at all : I mean rather that unhappy people are 
often preoccupied, and not in the mood for discoursing with 
companions of my nature. Moreover, there is a sort of 
unhappiness which not only depresses, but corrodes and 
that, I fear, is your portion. Will pity do you any good, 
Lina ? If it will, take some from Shirley : she offers largely, 
and warrants the article genuine.' 

' Shirley, I never had a sister you never had a sister ; 
but it flashes on me at this moment how sisters feel towards 
each other. Affection twined with their life, which no shocks 
of feeling can uproot, which little quarrels only trample an 
instant that it may spring more freshly when the pressure 
is removed ; affection that no passion can ultimately outrival, 
with which even love itself cannot do more than compete 
in force and truth. Love hurts us so, Shirley : it is so 
tormenting, so racking, and it burns away our strength with 
its flame ; in affection is no pain and no fire, only susten- 
ance and balm. I am supported and soothed when you 
that is, you only are near, Shirley. Do you believe me 

' I am always easy of belief when the creed pleases me. 
We really are friends then, Lina, in spite of the black 
eclipse ? ' 

' We really are,' returned the other, drawing Shirley 
towards her, and making her sit down, ' chance what 

' Come, then, we will talk of something else than the 
Troubler.' But at this moment the Eector came in, and the 
' something else ' of which Miss Keeldar was about to talk 
was not again alluded to till the moment of her departure ; 
she then delayed a few minutes in the passage to say, 
' Caroline, I wish to tell you that I have a great weight on 


my mind : my conscience is quite uneasy, as if I had 
committed, or was going to commit, a crime. It is not my 
private conscience, you must understand, but my landed- 
proprietor and lord-of-the-manor conscience. I have got 
into the clutch of an eagle with iron talons. I have fallen 
under a stern influence, which I scarcely approve, but can- 
not resist. Something will be done erelong, I fear, which it 
by no means pleases me to think of. To ease my mind, and 
to prevent harm as far as I can, I mean to enter on a series 
of good works. Don't be surprised, therefore, if you see me 
all at once turn outrageously charitable. I have no idea 
how to begin, but you must give me some advice : we will 
talk more on the subject to-morrow ; and just ask that 
excellent person, Miss Ainley, to step up to Fieldhead : I 
have some notion of putting myself under her tuition won't 
she have a precious pupil ? Drop a hint to her, Lina, that, 
though a well-meaning, I am rather a neglected character, 
and then she will feel less scandalized at my ignorance 
about clothing societies, and such things.' 

On the morrow, Caroline found Shirley sitting gravely 
at her desk, with an account-book, a bundle of bank-notes, 
and a well-filled purse before her. She was looking mighty 
serious, but a little puzzled. She said she had been ' casting 
an eye ' over the weekly expenditure in housekeeping at the 
Hall, trying to find out where she could retrench ; that she 
had also just given audience to Mrs. Gill, the cook, and had 
sent that person away with a notion that her (Shirley's) 
brain was certainly crazed. ' I have lectured her on the duty 
of being careful,' said she, ' in a way quite new to her. So 
eloquent was I on the text of economy, that I surprised 
myself ; for, you see, it is altogether a fresh idea : I never 
thought, much less spoke, on the subject till lately. But it 
is all theory ; for when I came to the practical part I could 
retrench nothing. I had not firmness to take off a single 
pound of butter, or to prosecute to any clear result an inquest 
into the destiny of either dripping, lard, bread, cold meat, or 
other kitchen perquisite whatever. I know we never get up 


illuminations at Fieldhead, but I could not ask the meaning 
of sundry quite unaccountable pounds of candles : we do 
not wash for the parish, yet I viewed in silence items of 
soap and bleaching -powder calculated to satisfy the 
solicitude of the most anxious inquirer after our position in 
reference to those articles : carnivorous I am not, nor is 
Mrs. Pryor, nor is Mrs. Gill herself, yet I only hemmed and 
opened my eyes a little wide when I saw butchers' bills 
whose figures seemed to prove that fact falsehood, I mean. 
Caroline, you may laugh at me, but you can't change me. 
I am a poltroon on certain points I feel it. There is a 
base alloy of moral cowardice in my composition. I blushed 
and hung my head before Mrs. Gill, when she ought to 
have been faltering confessions to me. I found it impossible 
to get up the spirit even to hint, much less to prove to her 
that she was a cheat. I have no calm dignity no true 
courage about me.' 

' Shirley, what fit of self-injustice is this ? My uncle, 
who is not given to speak well of women, says there are not 
ten thousand men in England as genuinely fearless as you.' 

' I am fearless, physically : I am never nervous about 
danger. I was not startled from self-possession when Mr. 
Wynne's great red bull rose with a bellow before my face as 
I was crossing the cowslip-lea alone, stooped his begrimed, 
sullen head, and made a run at me ; but I was afraid of 
seeing Mrs. Gill brought to shame and confusion of face. 
You have twice ten times my strength of mind on certain 
subjects, Caroline : you, whom no persuasions can induce to 
pass a bull, however quiet he looks, would have firmly 
shown my housekeeper she had done wrong ; then you 
would have gently and wisely admonished her ; and at last, 
I daresay, provided she had seemed penitent, you would 
have very sweetly forgiven her. Of this conduct I am 
incapable. However, in spite of exaggerated imposition, I 
still find we live within our means : I have money in hand, 
and I really must do some good with it. The Briarfield 
poor are badly off: they must be helped. What ought I to 


do, think you, Lina ? Had I not better distribute the cash 
at once ? ' 

' No, indeed, Shirley : you will not manage properly. I 
have often noticed that your only notion of charity is to give 
shillings and half-crowns in a careless, free-handed sort of 
way, which is liable to continual abuse. You must have a 
prime minister, or you will get yourself into a series of 
scrapes. You suggested Miss Ainley yourself : to Miss 
Ainley I will apply ; and, meantime, promise to keep quiet, 
and not begin throwing away your money. What a great 
deal you have, Shirley 1 you must feel very rich with all 

' Yes ; I feel of consequence. It is not an immense sum, 
but I feel responsible for its disposal ; and really this 
responsibility weighs on my mind more heavily than I 
could have expected. They say that there are some families 
almost starving to death in Briarfield : some of my own 
cottagers are in wretched circumstances : I must and will 
help them.' 

' Some people say we shouldn't give alms to the poor, 

1 They are great fools for their pains. For those who are 
not hungry, it is easy to palaver about the degradation of 
charity, and so on ; but they forget the brevity of life, as 
well as its bitterness. We have none of us long to live : let 
us help each other through seasons of want and woe, as well 
as we can, without heeding in the least the scruples of vain 

' But you do help others, Shirley : you give a great deal 
as it is.' 

' Not enough : I must give more, or, I tell you, my 
brother's blood will some day be crying to Heaven against 
me. For, after all, if political incendiaries come here to 
kindle conflagration in the neighbourhood, and my property 
is attacked, I shall defend it like a tigress I know I shall. 
Let me listen to Mercy as long as she is near me : her voice 
once drowned by the shout of ruffian defiance, and I shall be 


full of impulses to resist and quell. If once the poor gather 
and rise in the form of the mob, I shall turn against them 
as an aristocrat: if they bully me, I must defy; if they 
attack, I must resist, and I will.' 

' You talk like Kobert.' 

' I feel like Robert, only more fierily. Let them meddle 
with Robert, or Robert's mill, or Robert's interests, and I 
shall hate them. At present I am no patrician, nor do I 
regard the poor around me as plebeians ; but if once they 
violently wrong me or mine, and then presume to dictate to 
us, I shall quite forget pity for their wretchedness and 
respect for their poverty, in scorn of their ignorance and 
wrath at their insolence.' 

' Shirley how your eyes flash ! ' 

' Because my soul burns. Would you, any more than 
me, let Robert be borne down by numbers ? ' 

' If I had your power to aid Robert, I would use it as you 
mean to use it. If I could be such a friend to him as you 
can be, I would stand by him as you mean to stand by him 
till death.' 

1 And now, Lina, though your eyes don't flash, they glow. 
You drop your lids ; but I saw a kindled spark. However, 
it is not yet come to fighting. What I want to do is to 
prevent mischief. I cannot forget, either day or night, that 
these embittered feelings of the poor against the rich have 
been generated in suffering : they would neither hate nor 
envy us if they did not deem us so much happier than them- 
selves. To allay this suffering, and thereby lessen this hate, 
let me, out of rny abundance, give abundantly ; and that 
the donation may go farther, let it be made wisely. To that 
intent, we must introduce some clear, calm, practical sense 
into our councils : so go, and fetch Miss Ainley.' 

Without another word Caroline put on her bonnet and 
departed. It may, perhaps, appear strange that neither she 
nor Shirley thought of consulting Mrs. Pryor on their 
scheme; but they were wise in abstaining. To have consulted 
her and this they knew by instinct would only have been 


to involve her in painful embarrassment. She was far better 
informed, better read, a deeper thinker than Miss Ainley, but 
of administrative energy, of executive activity, she had none. 
She would subscribe her own modest mite to a charitable 
object willingly, secret almsgiving suited her ; but in public 
plans, on a large scale, she could take no part : as to origin- 
ating them, that was out of the question. This Shirley 
knew, and therefore she did not trouble Mrs. Pryor by 
unavailing conferences, which could only remind her of her 
own deficiencies, and do no good. 

It was a bright day for Miss Ainley, when she was 
summoned to Fieldhead to deliberate on projects so con- 
genial to her; when she was seated with all honour and 
deference at a table with paper, pen, ink, and what was 
best of all cash before her, and requested to draw up a 
regular plan for administering relief to the destitute poor of 
Briarfield. She, who knew them all, had studied their 
wants, had again and again felt in what way they might 
best be succoured, could the means of succour only be found, 
was fully competent to the undertaking, and a meek exultation 
gladdened her kind heart as she felt herself able to answer 
clearly and promptly the eager questions put by the two 
young girls ; as she showed them in her answers how much 
and what serviceable knowledge she had acquired of the 
condition of her fellow-creatures round her. 

Shirley placed at her disposal 300Z., and at the sight of 
the money Miss Ainley's eyes filled with joyful tears ; for 
she already saw the hungry fed, the naked clothed, the 
sick comforted thereby. She quickly drew up a simple, 
sensible plan for its expenditure ; and she assured them 
brighter times would now come round, for she doubted not 
the lady of Fieldhead's example would be followed by others ; 
she should try to get additional subscriptions, and to form a 
fund ; but first she must consult the clergy : yes, on that 
point, she was peremptory : Mr. Helstone, Dr. Boultby, Mr. 
Hall, must be consulted (for not only must Briarfield be 
relieved, but Whinbury and Nunnely) it would, she averred, 


be presumption in her to take a single step unauthorized by 

The clergy were sacred beings in Miss Ainley's eyes ; no 
matter what might be the insignificance of the individual, 
his station made him holy. The very curates who, in their 
trivial arrogance, were hardly worthy to tie her patten- 
strings, or carry her cotton umbrella or check woollen shawl 
she, in her pure, sincere enthusiasm, looked upon as 
sucking saints. No matter how clearly their little vices and 
enormous absurdities wei'e pointed out to her, she could not 
see them : she was blind to ecclesiastical defects : the white 
surplice covered a multitude of sins. 

Shirley, knowing this harmless infatuation on the part of 
her recently chosen prime minister, stipulated expressly that 
the curates were to have no voice in the disposal of the money ; 
that their meddling fingers were not to be inserted into the 
pie. The rectors, of course, must be paramount, and they 
might be trusted : they had some experience, some sagacity, 
and Mr. Hall, at least, had sympathy and loving-kindness 
for his fellow-men ; but as for the youth under them, they 
must be set aside, kept down, and taught that subordination 
and silence best became their years and capacity. 

It was with some horror Miss Ainley heard this language : 
Caroline, however, interposing with a mild word or two in 
praise of Mr. Sweeting, calmed her again. Sweeting was, 
indeed, her own favourite : she endeavoured to respect Messrs. 
Malone and Donne ; but the slices of sponge-cake, and 
glasses of cowslip or primrose wine, she had at different 
times administered to Sweeting, when he came to see her in 
her little cottage, were ever offered with sentiments of truly 
motherly regard. The same innocuous collation she had 
once presented to Malone ; but that personage evinced such 
open scorn of the offering, she had never ventured to renew 
it. To Donne she always served the treat, and was happy 
to see his approbation of it proved beyond a doubt, by the 
fact of his usually eating two pieces of cake and putting a 
third in his pocket. 


Indefatigable in her exertions where good was to be done, 
Miss Ainley would immediately have set out on a walk 
of ten miles round to the three rectors in order to show her 
plan, and humbly solicit their approval : but Miss Keeldar 
interdicted this, and proposed as an amendment, to collect 
the clergy in a small select reunion that evening at Field- 
head. Miss Ainley was to meet them, and the plan was to 
be discussed in full privy council. 

Shirley managed to get the senior priesthood together 
accordingly ; and before the old maid's arrival she had, 
further, talked all the gentlemen into the most charming 
mood imaginable. She herself had taken in hand Dr. 
Boultby and Mr. Helstone. The first was a stubborn old 
Welshman, hot, opinionated, and obstinate, but withal a man 
who did a great deal of good, though not without making 
some noise about it : the latter, we know. She had rather 
a friendly feeling for both ; especially for old Helstone ; and 
it cost her no trouble to be quite delightful to them. She 
took them round the garden ; she gathered them flowers ; she 
was like a kind daughter to them. Mr. Hall she left to 
Caroline or rather, it was to Caroline's care Mr. Hall 
consigned himself. 

He generally sought Caroline in every party where she 
and he happened to be. He was not in general a lady's man, 
though all ladies liked him : something of a book-worm he 
was, near-sighted, spectacled, now and then abstracted. To 
old ladies he was kind as a son. To men of every occupation 
and grade he was acceptable : the truth, simplicity, frankness 
of his manners, the nobleness of his integrity, the reality and 
elevation of his piety, won him friends in every grade : his 
poor clerk and sexton delighted in him ; the noble patron of 
his living esteemed him highly. It was only with young, 
handsome, fashionable, and stylish ladies he felt a little shy : 
being himself a plain man plain in aspect, plain in manners, 
plain in speech he seemed to fear their dash, elegance, and 
airs. But Miss Helstone had neither dash nor airs, and her 
native elegance was of a very quiet order quiet as the 


beauty of a ground-loving hedge-flower. He was a fluent, 
cheerful, agreeable talker. Caroline could talk, too, in a 
tte-&-t&te : she liked Mr. Hall to come and take the seat 
next her in a party, and thus secure her from Peter 
Augustus Malone, Joseph Donne, or John Sykes ; and Mr. 
Hall never failed to avail himself of this privilege when he 
possibly could. Such preference shown by a single gentle- 
man to a single lady would certainly, in ordinary cases, have 
set in motion the tongues of the gossips ; but Cyril Hall 
was forty-five years old, slightly bald, and slightly gray, 
and nobody ever said or thought he was likely to be married 
to Miss Helstone. Nor did he think so himself : he was 
wedded already to his books and his parish : his kind sister 
Margaret, spectacled and learned like himself, made him 
happy in his single state ; he considered it too late to change. 
Besides, he had known Caroline as a pretty little girl : she 
had sat on his knee many a time ; he had bought her toys 
and given her books ; he felt that her friendship for him was 
mixed with a sort of filial respect ; he could not have 
brought himself to attempt to give another colour to her 
sentiments, and his serene mind could glass a fair image 
without feeling its depths troubled by the reflection. 

When Miss Ainley arrived, she was made kindly welcome 
by every one : Mrs. Pryor and Margaret Hull made room 
for her on the sofa between them ; and when the three were 
seated, they formed a trio which the gay and thoughtless 
would have scorned, indeed, as quite worthless and un- 
attractive a middle-aged widow and two plain spectacled 
old maids yet which had its own quiet value, as many a 
suffering and friendless human being knew. 

Shirley opened the business and showed the plan. 

' I know the hand which drew up that,' said Mr. Hall, 
glancing at Miss Ainley, and smiling benignantly : his 
approbation was won at once. Boultby heard and de- 
liberated with bent brow and protruded under lip : his 
consent he considered too weighty to be given in a hurry. 
Helstone glancud sluuply round with an alert, suspicious 


expression, as if he apprehended that female craft was at 
work, and that something in petticoats was somehow trying 
underhand to acquire too much influence, and make itself of 
too much importance. Shirley caught and comprehended the 
expression : ' This scheme is nothing,' said she, carelessly ; 
' it is only an outline a mere suggestion ; you, gentlemen, 
are requested to draw up rules of your own.' 

And she directly fetched her writing-case, smiling queerly 
to herself as she bent over the table where it stood : she 
produced a sheet of paper, a new pen, drew an arm-chair to 
the table, and presenting her hand to old Helstone, begged 
permission to instal him in it. For a minute he was a little 
stiff, and stood wrinkling his copper-coloured forehead 
strangely. At last he muttered : ' Well you are neither 
my wife nor my daughter, so I'll be led for once ; but mind 
I know I am led : your little female manoeuvres don't blind 

' Oh ! ' said Shirley, dipping the pen in the ink, and 
putting it into his hand, ' you must regard me as Captain 
Keeldar to-day. This is quite a gentleman's affair yours 
and mine entirely, Doctor ' (so she had dubbed the Eector). 
' The ladies there are only to be our aides-de-camp, and at 
their peril they speak, till we have settled the whole 

He smiled a little grimly, and began to write. He soon 
interrupted himself to ask questions, and consult his 
brethren, disdainfully lifting his glance over the curly heads 
of the two girls, and the demure caps of the elder ladies to 
meet the winking glasses and gray pates of the priests. In 
the discussion which ensued, all three gentlemen, to their 
infinite credit, showed a thorough acquaintance with the 
poor of their parishes, an even minute knowledge of their 
separate wants. Each rector knew where clothing was 
needed, where food would be most acceptable, where money 
could be bestowed with a probability of it being judiciously 
laid out. Wherever their memories fell short, Miss Ainley 
or Miss Hall, if applied to, could help them out ; but both 


ladies took care not to speak unless spoken to. Neither 
of them wanted to be foremost, but each sincerely desired to 
be useful, and useful the clergy consented to make them : with 
which boon they were content. 

Shirley stood behind the rectors, leaning over their 
shoulders now and then to glance at the rules drawn up, and 
the list of cases making out, listening to all they said, and 
still at intervals smiling her queer smile a smile not ill- 
natured, but significant : too significant to be generally thought 
amiable. Men rarely like such of their fellows as read their 
inward nature too clearly and truly. It is good for women, 
especially, to be endowed with a soft blindness : to have mild, 
dim eyes, that never penetrate below the surface of things 
that take all for what it seems : thousands, knowing this, 
keep their eyelids drooped, on system ; but the most down- 
cast glance has its loophole, through which it can, on 
occasion, take its sentinel-survey of life. I remember once 
seeing a pair of blue eyes, that were usually thought sleepy, 
secretly on the alert, and I knew by their expression an 
expression which chilled my blood, it was in that quarter so 
wondrously unexpected that for years they had been 
accustomed to silent soul-reading. The world called the 
owner of these blue eyes ' bonne petite femme ' (she was 
not an Englishwoman) : I learned her nature afterwards 
got it off by heart studied it in its farthest, most hidden 
recesses she was the finest, deepest, subtlest schemer in 

When all was at length settled to Miss Keeldar's mind, 
and the clergy had entered so fully into the spirit of her 
plans as to head the subscription-list with their signatures 
for 50Z. each, she ordered supper to be served ; having 
previously directed Mrs. Gill to exercise her utmost skill in the 
preparation of this repast. Mr. Hall was no bon-vivant : ho 
was naturally an abstemious man, indifferent to luxury ; but 
Boultby and Helstone both liked good cookery ; the reciter ch6 
supper consequently put them into excellent humour : they 
did justice to it, though in a gentlemanly way not in the 


mode Mr. Donne would have done, had he been present. A 
glass of fine wine was likewise tasted, with discerning though 
most decorous relish. Captain Keeldar was complimented 
on his taste ; the compliment charmed him : it had been his 
aim to gratify and satisfy his priestly guests : he had suc- 
ceeded, and was radiant with glee. 


THE next day Shirley expressed to Caroline how delighted 
she felt that the little party had gone off so well. 

' I rather like to entertain a circle of gentlemen,' said 
she : ' it is amusing to observe how they enjoy a judiciously 
concocted repast ; for ourselves, you see, these choice wines 
and these scientific dishes are of no importance to us ; but 
gentlemen seem to retain something of the naivete of children 
about food, and one likes to please them : that is, when they 
show the becoming, decent self-government of our admirable 
rectors. I watch Moore sometimes, to try and discover 
how he can be pleased ; but he has not that child's simplicity 
about him. Did you ever find out his accessible point, 
Caroline ? You have seen more of him than I.' 

' It is not, at any rate, that of my uncle and Dr. Boultby,' 
returned Caroline, smiling. She always felt a sort of shy 
pleasure in following Miss Keeldar's lead respecting the 
discussion of her cousin's character : left to herself, she 
would never have touched on the subject; but when invited, 
the temptation of talking about him of whom she was ever 
thinking was irresistible. ' But,' she added, ' I really don't 
know what it is ; for I never watched Eobert in my life 
but my scrutiny was presently baffled by finding he was 
watching me.' 

' There it is I ' exclaimed Shirley : ' you can't fix your 
eyes on him but his presently flash on you. He is never 
off his guard : he won't give you an advantage : even when 
he does not look at you, his thoughts seem to be busy 


amongst your own thoughts, tracing your words and actions 
to their source, contemplating your motives at his ease. 
Oh ! I know that sort of character, or something in the 
same style : it is one that piques me singularly how does 
it affect you ? ' 

This question was a specimen of one of Shirley's sharp, 
sudden turns : Caroline used to be fluttered by them at first, 
but she had now got into the way of parrying these home- 
thrusts like a little quakeress. 

' Pique you ? In what way does it pique you ? ' she 

' Here he comes ! ' suddenly exclaimed Shirley, breaking 
off, starting up and running to the window. ' Here comes 
a diversion. I never told you of a superb conquest I have 
made lately made at those parties to which I can never 
persuade you to accompany me ; and the thing has been 
done without effort or intention on my part : that I aver. 
There is the bell and, by all that's delicious ! there are 
two of them. Do they never hunt, then, except in couples ? 
You may have one, Lina, and you may take your choice : 
I hope I am generous enough. Listen to Tartar ! ' 

The black-muzzled, tawny dog, a glimpse of which was 
seen in the chapter which first introduced its mistress to the 
reader, here gave tongue in the hall, amidst whose hollow 
space the deep bark resounded formidably. A growl, more 
terrible than the bark menacing as muttered thunder 

' Listen ! ' again cried Shirley, laughing. ' You would 
think that the prelude to a bloody onslaught : they will be 
frightened : they don't know old Tartar as I do : they are 
not aware his uproars are all sound and fury, signifying 

Some bustle was heard 

' Down, sir ! down ! ' exclaimed a high-toned, imperious 
voice, and then came a crack of a cane or whip. Im- 
mediately there was a yell a scutter a run a positive 


' Oh ! Malone ! Malone ! ' 

' Down ! down ! down ! ' cried the high voice. 

' He really is worrying them ! ' exclaimed Shirley. ' They 
have struck him : a blow is what he is not used to, and will 
not take.' 

Out she ran, a gentleman was fleeing up the oak stair- 
case, making for refuge in the gallery or chambers in hot 
haste ; another was backing fast to the stair-foot, wildly 
flourishing a knotty stick, at the same time reiterating, 
' Down ! down ! down ! ' while the tawny dog bayed, 
bellowed, howled at him, and a group of servants came 
bundling from the kitchen. The dog made a spring : the 
second gentleman turned tail and rushed after his comrade : 
the first was already safe in a bed-room : he held the door 
against his fellow ; nothing so merciless as terror ; but 
the other fugitive struggled hard : the door was about to yield 
to his strength. 

' Gentlemen,' was uttered in Miss Keeldar's silvery but 
vibrating tones, ' spare my locks, if you please. Calm your- 
selves ! come down ! Look at Tartar, he wont harm a 

She was caressing the said Tartar : he lay crouched 
at her feet, his fore-paws stretched out, his tail still in 
threatening agitation, his nostrils snorting, his bulldog eyes 
conscious of a dull fire. He was an honest, phlegmatic, 
stupid, but stubborn canine character : he loved his mistress, 
and John the man who fed him, but was mostly in- 
different to the rest of the world : quiet enough he was, 
unless struck or threatened with a stick, and that put a 
demon into him at once. 

' Mr. Malone, how do you do ? ' continued Shirley, lifting 
up her mirth-lit face to the gallery. ' That is not the way 
to the oak- parlour : that is Mrs. Pryor's apartment. Eequest 
your friend Mr. Donne to evacuate : I shall have the greatest 
pleasure in receiving him in a lower room. 

' Ha ! ha ! ' cried Malone, in hollow laughter, quitting 
the door, and leaning over the massive balustrade. ' Beally 


that animal alarmed Donne. He is a little timid,' he 
proceeded, stiffening himself, and walking trimly to the 
stairhead. ' I thought it better to follow, in order to reassure 

' It appears you did : well, come down, if you please. 
John ' (turning to her man-servant), ' go up-stairs and 
liberate Mr. Donne. Take care, Mr. Malone, the stairs are 

In truth they were ; being of polished oak. The caution 
came a little late for Malone : he had slipped already in his 
stately descent, and was only saved from falling by a clutch 
at the banisters, which made the whole structure creak 

Tartar seemed to think the visitor's descent effected with 
unwarranted 6clat, and accordingly he growled once more. 
Malone, however, was no coward : the spring of the dog 
had taken him by surprise ; but he passed him now in 
suppressed fury rather than fear : if a look could have 
strangled Tartar, he would have breathed no more. - For- 
getting politeness in his sullen rage, Malone pushed into 
the parlour before Miss Keeldar. He glanced at Miss 
Helstone ; he could scarcely bring himself to bend to her. 
He glared on both the ladies : he looked as if, had either of 
them been his wife, he would have made a glorious husband 
at the moment : in each hand he seemed as if he would 
have liked to clutch one and gripe her to death. 

However, Shirley took pity : she ceased to laugh ; and 
Caroline was too true a lady to smile even at any one under 
mortification. Tartar was dismissed ; Peter Augustus was 
soothed : for Shirley had looks and tones that might 
soothe a very bull : he had sense to feel that, since he could 
not challenge the owner of the dog, he had better be civil : 
and civil he tried to be ; and his attempts being well received, 
he grew presently very civil and quite himself again. He 
had come, indeed, for the express purpose of making himself 
charming and fascinating : rough portents had met him on 
his first admission to Fieldhead ; but that passage got over, 


charming and fascinating he resolved to be. Like March, 
having come in like a lion, he purposed to go out like a 

For the sake of air, as it appeared, or perhaps for that of 
ready exit in case of some new emergency arising, he took 
his seat not on the sofa, where Miss Keeldar offered him 
enthronization, nor yet near the fireside, to which Caroline, 
by a friendly sign, gently invited him, but on a chair close 
to the door. Being no longer sullen or furious, he grew, 
after his fashion, constrained and embarrassed. He talked 
to the ladies by fits and starts, choosing for topics whatever 
was most intensely commonplace : he sighed deeply, 
significantly, at the close of every sentence ; he sighed in 
each pause ; he sighed ere he opened his mouth. At last, 
finding it desirable to add ease to his other charms, he drew 
forth to aid him an ample silk pocket-handkerchief. This 
was to be the graceful toy with which his unoccupied 
hands were to trifle. He went to work with a certain 
energy : he folded the red and yellow square cornerwise ; he 
whipped it open with a waft : again he folded it in narrower 
compass : he made of it a handsome band. To what purpose 
would he proceed to apply the ligature ? Would he wrap 
it about his throat his head? Should it be a comforter or 
a turban ? Neither. Peter Augustus had an inventive an 
original genius : he was about to show the ladies graces of 
action possessing at least the charm of novelty. He sat on 
the chair with his athletic Irish legs crossed, and these legs, 
in that attitude, he circled with the bandana and bound 
firmly together. It was evident he felt this device to be 
worth an encore : he repeated it more than once. The 
second performance sent Shirley to the window to laugh her 
silent but irrepressible laugh unseen : it turned Caroline's 
head aside, that her long curls might screen the smile 
mantling on her features. Miss Helstone, indeed, was 
amused by more than one point in Peter's demeanour : she 
was edified at the complete though abrupt diversion of his 
homage from herself to the heiress : the 5,000/. he supposed 


her likely one day to inherit, were not to be weighed in the 
balance against Miss Keeldar's estate and hall. He took no 
pains to conceal his calculations and tactics : he pretended 
to no gradual change of views : he wheeled about at once : 
the pursuit of the lesser fortune was openly relinquished for 
that of the greater. On what grounds he expected to 
succeed in his chase, himself best knew : certainly not by 
skilful management. 

From the length of time that elapsed, it appeared that 
John had some difficulty in persuading Mr. Donne to 
descend. At length, however, that gentleman appeared : nor, 
as he presented himself at the oak-parlour door, did he 
seem in the slightest degree ashamed or confused not a 
whit. Donne, indeed, was of that coldly phlegmatic, 
immovably complacent, densely self-satisfied nature which 
is insensible to shame. He had never blushed in his life : 
no humiliation could abash him : his nerves were not 
capable of sensation enough to stir his life, and make colour 
mount to his cheek : he had no fire in his blood, and no modesty 
in his soul : he was a frontless, arrogant, decorous slip of the 
commonplace ; conceited, inane, insipid : and this gentleman 
had a notion of wooing Miss Keeldar ! He knew no more, 
however, how to set about the business than if he had been 
an image carved in wood : he had no idea of a taste to be 
pleased, a heart to be reached in courtship : his notion was, 
when he should have formally visited her a few times, to 
write a letter proposing marriage : then he calculated she 
would accept him for love of his office, then they would bo 
married, then he should be master of Fieldhead, and he should 
live very comfortably, have servants at his command, eat 
and drink of the best, and be a great man. You would not 
have suspected his intentions when he addressed his 
intended bride in an impertinent, injured tone: -'A very 
dangerous dog that, Miss Keeldar. I wonder you should 
keep such an animal.' 

' Do you, Mr. Donne ? Perhaps you will wonder more 
when I tell you I am very fond of him.' 


' I should say you are not serious in the assertion. 
Can't fancy a lady fond of that brute 'tis so ugly a mere 
carter's dog pray hang him.' 

' Hang what I am fond of ? ' 

' And purchase in his stead some sweetly pooty pug or 
poodle : something appropriate to the fair sex : ladies 
generally like lap-dogs.' 

'Perhaps I am an exception. 

1 Oh ! you can't be, you know. All ladies are alike in 
those matters : that is universally allowed.' 

' Tartar frightened you terribly, Mr. Donne. I hope you 
won't take any harm.' 

'That I shall, no doubt. He gave me a turn I shall 
not soon forget. When I sor him ' (such was Mr. Donne's 
pronunciation) ' about to spring, I thought I should have 

1 Perhaps you did faint in the bed-room you were a long 
time there ? ' 

' No ; I bore up that I might hold the door fast : I was 
determined not to let any one enter : I thought I would keep 
a barrier between me and the enemy.' 

' But what if your friend Mr. Malone had been 
worried ? ' 

' Malone must take care of himself. Your man persuaded 
me to come out at last by saying the dog was chained up in 
his kennel : if I had not been assured of this, I would have 
remained all day in the chamber. But what is that ? I 
declare the man has told a falsehood ! The dog is there 1 ' 

And indeed Tartar walked past the glass-door opening to 
the garden, stiff, tawny, and black-muzzled as ever. He 
still seemed in bad humour ; he was growling again, and 
whistling a half-strangled whistle, being an inheritance from 
the bulldog side of his ancestry. 

' There are other visitors coming,' observed Shirley, with 
that provoking coolness which the owners of formidable- 
looking dogs are apt to show while their animals are all bristle 
and bay. Tartar sprang down the pavement towards the 


gate, bellowing 'avec explosion.' His mistress quietly 
opened the glass-door, and stepped out chirruping to him. 
His bellow was already silenced, and he was lifting up his 
huge, blunt, stupid head to the new callers to be patted. 

' What Tartar, Tartar ! ' said a cheery, rather boyish 
voice : ' don't you know us ? Good-morning, old boy ! ' 

And little Mr. Sweeting, whose conscious good-nature 
made him comparatively fearless of man, woman, child, or 
brute, came through the gate, caressing the guardian. His 
vicar, Mr. Hall, followed : he had no fear of Tartar either, 
and Tartar had no ill-will to him : he snuffed both the 
gentlemen round, and then, as if concluding that they were 
harmless, and might be allowed to pass, he withdrew to the 
sunny front of the hall, leaving the archway free. Mr. 
Sweeting followed, and would have played with him, but 
Tartar took no notice of his caresses : it was only his 
mistress's hand whose touch gave ,him pleasure ; to all 
others he showed himself obstinately insensible. 

Shirley advanced to meet Messrs. Hall and Sweeting, 
shaking hands with them cordially : they were come to tell 
her of certain successes they had achieved that morning in 
application for subscriptions to the fund. Mr. Hall's eyes 
beamed benignantly through his spectacles : his plain face 
looked positively handsome with goodness, and when 
Caroline, seeing who was come, ran out to meet him, and 
put both her hands into his, he gazed down on her with a 
gentle, serene, affectionate expression, that gave him the 
aspect of a smiling Melanchthon. 

Instead of re-entering the house, they strayed through 
the garden, the ladies walking one on each side of Mr. Hall. 
It was a breezy sunny day ; the air freshened the girls' cheeks, 
and gracefully dishevelled their ringlets : both of them 
looked pretty, one, gay : Mr. Hall spoke oftenest to his 
brilliant companion, looked most frequently at the quiet one. 
Miss Keeldar gathered handfuls of the profusely blooming 
flowers, whose perfume filled the enclosure ; she g:ive some 
to Caroline, telling her to choose a nosegay for Mr. Hall ; and 


with her lap filled with delicate and splendid blossoms, 
Caroline sat down on tb,e steps of a summer-house : the 
Vicar stood near her, leaning on his cane. 

Shirley, who could not be inhospitable, now called out 
the neglected pair in the oak parlour : she convoyed Donne 
past his dread enemy Tartar, who, with his nose on his fore- 
paws, lay snoring under the meridian sun. Donne was not 
grateful : he never was grateful for kindness and attention ; 
but he was glad of the safeguard. Miss Keeldar, desirous 
of being impartial, offered the curates flowers : they accepted 
them with native awkwardness. Malone seemed specially 
at a loss, when a bouquet filled one hand, while his shillelagh 
occupied the other. Donne's ' Thank you ! ' was rich to 
hear : it was the most fatuous and arrogant of sounds 
implying that he considered this offering an homage to his 
merits, and an attempt on the part of the heiress to ingratiate 
herself into his priceless affections. Sweeting alone received 
the posy like a smart, sensible, little man, as he was ; putting 
it gallantly and nattily into his buttonhole. 

As a reward for his good manners, Miss Keeldar, beckon- 
ing him apart, gave him some commission, which made his 
eyes sparkle with glee. Away he flew, round by the court- 
yard to the kitchen : no need to give him directions ; he was 
always at home everywhere. Erelong he reappeared, carry- 
ing a round table, which he placed under the cedar ; then 
he collected six garden-chairs from various nooks and 
bowers in the grounds, and placed them in a circle. The 
parlour-maid Miss Keeldar kept no footman came out, 
bearing a napkin -covered tray. Sweeting's nimble fingers 
aided in disposing glasses, plates, knives and forks : he 
assisted her too in setting forth a neat luncheon, consisting 
of cold chicken, harn, and tarts. 

This sort of impromptu regale, it was Shirley's delight to 
offer any chance guests ; and nothing pleased her better 
than to have an alert, obliging little friend, like Sweeting, 
to run about her hand, cheerily receive and briskly execute 
her hospitable hints. David and she were on the best terms 


in the world ; and his devotion to the heiress was quite 
disinterested, since it prejudiced in nothing his faithful 
allegiance to the magnificent Dora Sykes. 

The repast turned out a very rnerry one. Donne and 
Malone, indeed, contributed but little to its vivacity, the chief 
part they played in it being what concerned the knife, fork, and 
wine-glass ; but where four such natures as Mr. Hall, David 
Sweeting, Shirley, and Caroline, were assembled in health 
and amity, on a green lawn, under a sunny sky, amidst a 
wilderness of flowers, there could not be ungenial dulness. 

In the course of conversation, Mr. Hall reminded the 
ladies that Whitsuntide was approaching, when the grand 
United Sunday-School tea-drinking and procession of the 
three parishes of Briarfield, Whinbury, and Nunnely were 
to take place. Caroline he knew would be at her post as 
teacher, he said, and he hoped Miss Keeldar would 
not be wanting ; he hoped she would make her first public 
appearance amongst them at that time. Shirley was not 
the person to miss an occasion of this sort : she liked 
festive excitement, a gathering of happiness, a concentration 
and combination of pleasant details, a throng of glad faces, 
a muster of elated hearts : she told Mr. Hall they might 
count on her with security : she did not know what she would 
have to do, but they might dispose of her as they pleased. 

' And,' said Caroline, ' you will promise to come to my 
table, and to sit near me, Mr. Hall ? ' 

' I shall not fail, Deo volente,' said he. ' I have occupied 
the place on her right hand at these monster tea-drinkings 
for the last six years,' ho proceeded, turning to Miss Keeldar. 
' They made her a Sunday-School teacher when she was a 
little girl of twelve : she is not particularly self-confident by 
nature, as you may have observed ; and the first time she 
had to " take a tray," as the phrase is, and make tea in public, 
there was some piteous trembling and flushing. I observed 
the speechless panic, the cups shaking in the little hand, 
and the overflowing tea-pot filled too full from the urn. I 
came to her aid, took a seat near her, managed the urn and 


the slop-basin, and in fact made the tea for her like any old 

' I was very grateful to you,' interposed Caroline. 

1 You were : you told me so with an earnest sincerity 
that repaid me well ; inasmuch as it was not like the 
majority of little ladies of twelve, whom you may help and 
caress for ever without their evincing any quicker sense of 
the kindness done and meant than if they were made of wax 
and wood, instead of flesh and nerves. She kept close to 
me, Miss Keeldar, the rest of the evening, walking with me 
over the grounds where the children were playing ; she 
followed me into the vestry when all were summoned into 
church : she would, I believe, have mounted with me to the 
pulpit, had I not taken the previous precaution of conducting 
her to the Eectory-pew.' 

' And he has been my friend ever since,' said Caroline. 

' And always sat at her table, near her tray, and handed 
the cups, that is the extent of my services. The next 
thing I do for her will be to marry her some day to some 
curate or mill-owner : but mind, Caroline, I shall inquire 
about the bridegroom's character, and if he is not a gentle- 
man likely to render happy the little girl who walked with 
me hand in hand over Nunnely Common, I will not officiate : 
so take care.' 

' The caution is useless : I am not going to be married. 
I shall live single like your sister Margaret, Mr. Hall.' 

'Very well you might do worse Margaret is not 
unhappy : she has her books for a pleasure, and her brother 
for a care, and is content. If ever you want a home ; if the 
day should come when Briarfield Eectory is yours no 
longer, come to Nunnely Vicarage. Should the old maid 
and bachelor be still living, they will make you tenderly 

' There are your flowers. Now/ said Caroline, who had 
kept the nosegay she had selected for him till this moment, 
' you don't care for a bouquet, but you must give it to 
Margaret : only to be sentimental for once keep that 


little forget-me-not, which is a wild-flower I gathered from 
the grass ; and to be still more sentimental let me take 
two or three of the blue blossoms and put them in my 

And she took out a small book with enamelled cover and 
silver clasp, wherein, having opened it, she inserted the 
flowers, writing round them in pencil ' To be kept for the 
sake of the Rev. Cyril Hall, my friend. May , 18 .' 

The Eev. Cyril Hall, on his part also, placed a sprig in 
safety between the leaves of a pocket Testament : he only 
wrote on the margin ' Caroline.' 

1 Now,' said he smiling, ' I trust we are romantic enough. 
Miss Keeldar,' he continued (the curates, by-the-by, during 
this conversation, were too much occupied with their own 
jokes to notice what passed at the other end of the table), 
' I hope you are laughing at this trait of " exaltation " in the 
old gray-headed Vicar ; but the fact is, I am so used to 
comply with the requests of this young friend of yours, I 
don't know how to refuse her when she tells me to do any- 
thing. You would say it is not much in my way to traffic 
with flowers and forget-me-nots : but, you see, when re- 
quested to be sentimental, I am obedient.' 

' He is naturally rather sentimental,' remarked Caroline ; 
' Margaret told me so, and I know what pleases him.' 

' That you should be good and happy ? Yes ; that is one 
of my greatest pleasures. May God long preserve to you 
the blessings of peace and innocence ! By which phrase, I 
mean comparative innocence ; for in His sight, I am well 
aware, none are pure. What, to our human perceptions, 
looks spotless as we fancy angels, is to Him but frailty, need- 
ing the blood of His Son to cleanse, and the strength of His 
Spirit to sustain. Let us each and all cherish humility- I, 
as you, my young friends ; and we may well do it when we 
look into our own hearts, and see there temptations, 
inconsistencies, propensities, even we blush to recognise. 
And it is not youth, nor good looks, nor grace, nor any 
gentle outside charm which makes either beauty or goodness 


in God's eyes. Young ladies, when your mirror or men's 
tongues flatter you, remember that, in the sight of her Maker, 
Mary Ann Ainley a woman whom neither glass nor lips 
have ever panegyrized is fairer and better than either of 
you. She is, indeed,' he added, after a pause ' she is, 
indeed. You young things wrapt up in yourselves and in 
earthly hopes scarcely live as Christ lived : perhaps you 
cannot do it yet, while existence is so sweet and earth so 
smiling to you : it would be too much to expect : she, with 
meek heart and due reverence, treads close in her Redeemer's 

Here the harsh voice of Donne broke in on the mild 
tones of Mr. Hall : ' Ahem ! ' he began, clearing his throat 
evidently for a speech of some importance. ' Ahem ! Miss 
Keeldar, your attention an instant, if you please.' 

'Well,' said Shirley, nonchalantly. 'What is it? I 
listen : all of me is ear that is not eye.' 

' I hope part of you is hand also,' returned Donne, in his 
vulgarly presumptuous and familiar style, ' and part purse : 
it is to the hand and purse I propose to appeal. I came 
here this morning with a view to beg of you -' 

1 You should have gone to Mrs. Gill : she is my 

1 To beg of you a subscription to a school. I and 
Dr. Boultby intend to erect one in the hamlet of Ecclefigg, 
which is under our vicarage of Whinbury. The Baptists 
have got possession of it : they have a chapel there, and we 
want to dispute the ground.' 

' But I have nothing to do with Ecclefigg : I possess no 
property there.' 

' What does that signify ? You're a Churchwoman, 
ain't you ? ' 

' Admirable creature ! ' muttered Shirley, under her 
breath : ' exquisite address : fine style ! What raptures he 
excites in me ! ' then aloud, ' I am a Churchwoman, cer- 

' Then you can't refuse to contribute in this case. The 


population of Ecolefigg are a parcel of brutes we want to 
civilise them.' 

' Who is to be the missionary ? ' 

' Myself, probably.' 

' You won't fail through lack of sympathy with your flock.' 

' I hope not I expect success ; but we must have money. 
There is the paper pray give a handsome sum.' 

When asked for money, Shirley rarely held back. She 
put down her name for 51. : after the 300Z. she had lately 
given, and the many smaller sums she was giving constantly, 
it was as much as she could at present afford. Donne looked 
at it, declared the subscription ' shabby,' and clamoi'ously 
demanded more. Miss Keeldar flushed up with some 
indignation and more astonishment. 

' At present, I shall give no more,' said she. 

' Not give more ! Why, I expected you to head the list 
with a cool hundred. With your property, you should 
never put down a signature for less.' 

She was silent. 

' In the south,' went on Donne, ' a lady with a thousand 
a year would be ashamed to give five pounds for a public 

Shirley, so rarely haughty, looked so now. Her slight 
frame became nerved; her distinguished face quickened 
with scorn. 

1 Strange remarks ! ' said she : ' most inconsiderate ! 
Reproach in return for bounty is misplaced.' 

' Bounty ! Do you call five pounds bounty ? ' 

' I do : and bounty which, had I not given it to Dr. 
Boultby's intended school, of the erection of which I 
approve, and in no sort to his curate, who seems ill-advised 
in his manner of applying for or rather extorting subscrip- 
tions, bounty, I repeat, which, but for this consideration, I 
should instantly reclaim.' 

Donne was thick-skinned : he did not feel all or half that 
the true, fair glance of the speaker expressed : he knew not 
on what ground he stood, 


' Wretched place this Yorkshire,' he went on. ' I could 
never have formed an idear of the country had I not seen 
it ; and the people rich and poor what a set ! How corse 
and uncultivated ! They would be scouted in the south.' 

Shirley leaned forwards on the table, her nostrils dilating 
a little, her taper fingers interlaced and compressing each 
other hard. 

' The rich,' pursued the infatuated and unconscious 
Donne, ' are a parcel of misers never living as persons with 
their incomes ought to live : you scarsley ' (you must 
excuse Mr. Donne's pronunciation, reader ; it was very 
choice ; he considered it genteel, and prided himself on his 
southern accent ; northern ears received with singular sensa- 
tions his utterance of certain words) ; ' you scarsley ever 
see a fam'ly where a propa carriage or a reg'la butla is kep ; 
and as to the poor just look at them when they come 
crowding about the church-doors on the occasion of a 
marriage or a funeral, clattering in clogs ; the men in their 
shirt-sleeves and wool-combers' aprons, the women in mob- 
caps and bed-gowns. They postively deserve that one 
should turn a mad cow in amongst them to rout their rabble- 
ranks he ! he ! What fun it would be ! ' 

' There, you have reached the climax,' said Shirley, 
quietly. ' You have reached the climax,' she repeated, 
turning her glowing glance towards him. ' You cannot go 
beyond it, and,' she added with emphasis, ' you shall not, in 
my house.' 

Up she rose : nobody could control her now, for she 
was exasperated ; straight she walked to her garden-gates, 
wide she flung them open. 

' Walk through,' she said austerely, ' and pretty quickly, 
and set foot on this pavement no more.' 

Donne was astounded. He had thought all the time he 
was showing himself off to high advantage, as a lofty-souled 
person of the first ' ton,' he imagined he was producing a 
crushing impression. Had lie not expressed disdain of 
everything in Yorkshire ? What more conclusive proof 



could be given that he was better than anything there ? And 
yet here was he about to be turned like a dog out of a 
Yorkshire garden ! Where, under such circumstances, was 
the ' concatenation accordingly ? ' 

' Kid me of you instantly instantly ! ' reiterated Shirley 
as he lingered. 

' Madam a clergyman ! Turn out a clergyman ? ' 

' Off ! Were you an archbishop : you have proved 
yourself no gentleman, and must go. Quick ! ' 

She was quite resolved : there was no trifling with her : 
besides, Tartar was again rising ; he perceived symptoms of 
a commotion : he manifested a disposition to join in ; there 
was evidently nothing for it but to go, and Donne made his 
exodus ; the heiress sweeping him a deep curtsey as she 
closed the gates on him. 

' How dare the pompous priest abuse his flock ? How 
dare the lisping cockney revile Yorkshire ? ' was her sole 
observation on the circumstance, as she returned to the 

Erelong the little party broke up : Miss Keeldar's ruffled 
and darkened brow, curled lip, and incensed eye, gave no 
invitation to further social enjoyment. 



THE fund prospered. By dint of Miss Keeldar's example, 
the three rectors' vigorous exertions, and the efficient though 
quiet aid of their spinster and spectacled lieutenants, Mary 
Ann Ainley and Margaret Hall, a handsome sum was raised : 
and this being judiciously managed, served for the present 
greatly to alleviate the distress of the unemployed poor. The 
neighbourhood seemed to grow calmer : for a fortnight past 
no cloth had been destroyed ; no outrage on mill or mansion 
had been committed in the three parishes. Shirley was 
sanguine that the evil she wished to avert was almost 
escaped ; that the threatened storm was passing over : with 
the approach of summer she felt certain that trade would 
improve it always did ; and then this weary war could 
not last for ever ; peace must return one day : with peace 
what an impulse would be given to commerce ! 

Such was the usual tenor of her observations to her 
tenant, Gerard Moore, whenever she met him where they 
could converse, and Moore would listen very quietly too 
quietly to satisfy her. She would then by her impatient 
glance demand something more from him some explana- 
tion, or at least some additional remark. Smiling in his way, 
with that expression which gave a remarkable cast of sweet- 
ness to his mouth, while his brow remained grave, he would 
answer to the effect, that himself, too, trusted in the finite 
nature of the war ; that it was indeed on that ground the 
anchor of his hopes was fixed : thereon his speculations 
depended. ' For you are aware,' he would continue, ' that 


I now work Hollow's mill entirely on speculation : I sell 
nothing ; there is no market for my goods. I manufacture 
for a future day : I nake myself ready to take advantage of 
the first opening that shall occur. Three months ago this 
was impossible to me ; I had exhausted both credit and 
capital : you well know who came to my rescue ; from what 
hand I received the loan which saved me. It is on the 
strength of that loan I am enabled to continue the bold 
game which, a while since, I feared I should never play 
more. Total ruin I know will follow loss, and I am aware 
that gain is doubtful ; but I am quite cheerful ; so long as I 
can be active, so long as I can strive, so long, in short, as 
my hands are not tied, it is impossible for me to be depressed. 
One year, nay, but six months, of the reign of the olive, and 
I am safe ; for, as you say, peace will give an impulse to 
commerce. In this you are right ; but as to the restored 
tranquillity of the neighbourhood as to the permanent good 
effect of your charitable fund I doubt. Eleemosynary 
relief never yet tranquillized the working-classes it never 
made them grateful ; it is not in human nature that it should. 
I suppose, were all things ordered aright, they ought not to 
be in a position to need that humiliating relief ; and this 
they feel : we should feel it were we so placed. Besides, to 
whom should they be grateful ? To you to the clergy 
perhaps, but not to us mill-owners. They hate us worse 
than ever. Then, the disaffected here are in correspondence 
with the disaffected elsewhere ; Nottingham is one of their 
head-quarters, Manchester another, Birmingham a third. 
The subalterns receive orders from their chiefs ; they are 
in a good state of discipline : no blow is struck without 
mature deliberation. In sultry weather, you have seen the 
sky threaten thunder day by day, and yet night after night 
the clouds have cleared, and the sun has set quietly ; but 
the danger was not gone, it was only delayed : the long- 
threatening storm is sure to break at last. There is analogy 
between the moral and physical atmosphere.' 

1 Well, Mr. Moore ' (so these conferences always ended), 


4 take care of yourself. If you think that I have ever done 
you any good, reward me by promising to take care of 

' I do : I will take close and watchful care. I wish to 
live, not to die : the future opens like Eden before me ; and 
still, when I look deep into the shades of my paradise, I see 
a vision, that I like better than seraph or cherub, glide across 
remote vistas.' 

1 Do you ? Pray, what vision ? ' 

' I see ' 

The maid came bustling in with the tea-things. 

The early part of that May, as we have seen, was fine, 
the middle was wet; but in the last week, at change of 
moon, it cleared again. A fresh wind swept off the silver- 
white, deep-piled rain-clouds, bearing them, mass on mass, 
to the eastern horizon ; on whose verge they dwindled, and 
behind whose rim they disappeared, leaving the vault behind 
all pure blue space, ready for the reign of the summer sun. 
That sun rose broad on Whitsuntide : the gathering of the 
schools was signalized by splendid weather. 

\Vhit-Tuesday was the great day, in preparation for 
which the two large schoolrooms of Briarfield, built by the 
present rector, chiefly at his own expense, were cleaned out, 
white- washed, repainted, and decorated with flowers and 
evergreens some from the Eectory-garden, two cart-loads 
from Fieldhead, and a wheelbarrowful from the more stingy 
domain of De Warden, the residence of Mr. Wynne, in 
these schoolrooms twenty tables, each calculated to accommo- 
date twenty guests, were laid out, surrounded with benches, 
and covered with white cloths : above them were suspended 
at least some twenty cages, containing as many canaries, 
according to a fancy of the district, specially cherished by 
Mr. Helstone's clerk, who delighted in the piercing song of 
these birds, and knew that amidst confusion of tongues they 
always carolled loudest. These tables, be it understood, 
were not spread for the twelve hundred scholars to be 
assembled from the three parishes, but only for the patrons 


and teachers of the schools : the children's feast was to be 
spread in the open air. At one o'clock the troops were to 
come in ; at two they were to be marshalled : till four they 
were to parade the parish ; then came the feast, and after- 
wards the meeting, with music and speechifying in the 

Why Briarfield was chosen for the point of rendezvous 
the scene of the fete should be explained. It was not 
because it was the largest or most populous parish Whin- 
bury far outdid it in that respect ; nor because it was the 
oldest antique as were the hoary Church and Kectory, 
Nunnely's low-roofed Temple and mossy Parsonage, buried 
both in coeval oaks, outstanding sentinels of Nunnwood, 
were older still : it was simply because Mr. Helstone willed 
it so, and Mr. Helstone's will was stronger than that of 
Boultby or Hall ; the former could not, the latter would not, 
dispute a point of precedence with their resolute and imperious 
brother ; they let him lead and rule. 

This notable anniversary had always hitherto been a 
trying day to Caroline Helstone, because it dragged her 
perforce into public, compelling her to face all that was 
wealthy, respectable, influential in the neighbourhood ; in 
whose presence, but for the kind countenance of Mr. Hall, 
she would have appeared unsupported. Obliged to be 
conspicuous ; obliged to walk at the head of her regiment, 
as the Eector's niece, and first teacher of the first class ; 
obliged to make tea at the first table for a mixed multitude 
of ladies and gentlemen ; and to do all this without the 
countenance of mother, aunt, or other chaperon she, mean- 
time, being a nervous person, who mortally feared publicity 
it will be comprehended that, under these circumstances, 
she trembled at the approach of Whitsuntide. 

But this year Shirley was to be with her, and that 
changed the aspect of the trial singularly it changed it 
utterly : it was a trial no longer it was almost an enjoy- 
ment. Miss Keeldar was better in her single self than a 
host of ordinary friends. Quite self-possessed, and always 


spirited and easy; conscious of her social importance, yet 
never presuming upon it, it would be enough to give one 
courage only to look at her. The only fear was, lest the 
heiress should not be punctual to tryst : she often had a 
careless way of lingering behind time, and Caroline knew 
her uncle would not wait a second for any one : at the 
moment of the church-clock tolling two, the bells would 
clash out and the march begin. She must look after 
Shirley, then, in this matter, or her expected companion 
would fail her. 

Whit-Tuesday saw her rise almost with the sun. She, 
Fanny, and Eliza were busy the whole morning arranging 
the Rectory-parlours in first-rate company order, and setting 
out a collation of cooling refreshments wine, fruit, cakes 
on the dining-room side-board. Then she had to dress in 
her freshest and fairest attire of white muslin ; the perfect 
fineness of the day and the solemnity of the occasion 
warranted, and even exacted, such costume. Her new sash a 
birthday-present from Margaret Hall, which she had reason 
to believe Cyril himself had bought, and in return for which 
she had indeed given him a set of cambric-bands in a 
handsome case was tied by the dexterous fingers of Fanny, 
who took no little pleasure in arraying her fair young mistress 
for the occasion ; her simple bonnet had been trimmed to 
correspond with her sash ; her pretty but inexpensive scarf of 
white crape suited her dress. When ready, she formed a 
picture, not bright enough to dazzle, but fair enough to 
interest; not brilliantly striking, but very delicately pleasing; 
a picture in which sweetness of tint, purity of air, and grace 
of mien, atoned for the absence of rich colouring and mag- 
nificent contour. What her brown eye and clear forehead 
showed of her mind, was in keeping with her dress and face 
- modest, gentle, and, though pensive, harmonious. It 
appeared that neither lamb nor dove need fear her, but 
would welcome rather, in her look of simplicity and softness, 
a sympathy with their own natures, or with the natures we 
ascribe to them. 


After all, she was an imperfect, faulty human being : fair 
enough of form, hue, and array; but, as Cyril Hall said, 
neither so good nor so great as the withered Miss Ainley. 
now putting on her best black gown and Quaker-drab shawl 
and bonnet in her own narrow cottage-chamber. 

Away Caroline went, across some very sequestered fields 
and through some quite hidden lanes, to Pieldhead. She 
glided quickly under the green hedges and across the 
greener leas. There was no dust no moisture to soil the 
hem of her stainless garment, or to damp her slender 
sandal : after the late rains all was clean, and under the 
present glowing sun all was dry : she walked fearlessly 
then, on daisy and turf, and through thick plantations ; she 
reached Fieldhead and penetrated to Miss Keeldar's dressing- 

It was well she had come, or Shirley would have been 
too late. Instead of making ready with all speed, she lay 
stretched on a couch, absorbed in reading : Mrs. Pryor stood 
near, vainly urging her to rise and dress. Caroline wasted 
no words : she immediately took the book from her, and, 
with her own hands, commenced the business of disrobing 
and rerobing her. Shirley, indolent with the heat, and gay 
with her youth and pleasurable nature, wanted to talk, 
laugh, and linger; but Caroline, intent on being in time, 
persevered in dressing her as fast as fingers could fasten 
strings or insert pins. At length, as she united a final row of 
hooks and eyes, she found leisure to chide her, saying, she 
was very naughty to be so unpunctual ; that she looked even 
now the picture of incorrigible carelessness : and so Shirley 
did but a very lovely picture of that tiresome quality. 

She presented quite a contrast to Caroline : there was 
style in every fold of her dress and every line of her figure : 
the rich silk suited her better than a simpler costume ; the 
deep-embroidered scarf became her : she wore it negligently, 
but gracefully ; the wreath on her bonnet crowned her well : 
the attention to fashion, the tasteful appliance of ornament 
in each portion oi her dress, were quite in place with her ; 


all this suited her, like the frank light in her eyes, the 
rallying smile about her lips, like her shaft-straight carriage 
and lightsome step. Caroline took her hand when she was 
dressed, hurried her down-stairs, out of doors, and thus they 
sped through the fields, laughing as they went, and looking 
very much like a snow-white dove and gem-tinted bird-of- 
paradise joined in social flight. 

Thanks to Miss Helstone's promptitude, they arrived in 
good time. While yet trees hid the church, they heard the 
bell tolling a measured but urgent summons for all to 
assemble ; the trooping in of numbers, the trampling of 
many steps, and murmuring of many voices were likewise 
audible. From a rising-ground they presently saw, on 
the Whinbury-road, the Whinbury-school approaching : it 
numbered five hundred souls. The Rector and Curate, 
Boultby and Donne, headed it : the former, looming large in 
full canonicals, walking as became a beneficed priest, under 
the canopy of a shovel-hat, with the dignity of an ample cor- 
poration, the embellishment of the squarest and vastest of black 
coats, and the support of the stoutest of gold-headed canes. 
As the Doctor walked, he now and then slightly flourished 
his cane, and inclined his shovel-hat with a dogmatical wag 
towards his aide-de-camp. That aide-de-camp Donne, to wit 
narrow as the line of his shape was compared to the broad 
bulk of his principal, contrived, notwithstanding, to look 
every inch a curate : all about him was pragmatical and self- 
complacent, from his turned-up nose and elevated chin to his 
clerical black gaiters, his somewhat short, strapless trousers, 
and his square-toed shoes. 

Walk on, Mr. Donne ! You have undergone scrutiny. 
You think you look well whether the white and purple 
figures watching you from yonder hill think so, is another 

These figures come running down when the regiment has 
marched by: the churchyard is full of children and teachers, 
all in their very best holiday attire : and distressed as is 
the district, bud as are the time-,-- it is wonderful to see how 


respectably how handsomely even they have contrived 
to clothe themselves. That British love of decency will 
work miracles : the poverty which reduces an Irish girl to 
rags is impotent to rob the English girl of the neat wardrobe 
she knows necessary to her self-respect. Besides, the lady 
of the manor that Shirley, now gazing with pleasure on 
this well-dressed and happy-looking crowd has reaUy done 
them good : her seasonable bounty consoled many a poor 
family against the coming holiday, and supplied many a 
child with a new frock or bonnet for the occasion ; she 
knows it, and is elate with the consciousness : glad that her 
money, example, and influence have really substantially 
benefited those around her. She cannot be charitable like 
Miss Ainley it is not in her nature : it relieves her to feel 
that' there is another way of being charitable, practicable for 
other characters, and under other circumstances. 

Caroline, too, is pleased ; for she also has done good in her 
small way ; robbed herself of more than one dress, ribbon, 
or collar she could ill spare, to aid in fitting out the scholars 
of her class ; and as she could not give money, she has 
followed Miss Ainley's example, in giving her time and her 
industry to sew for the children. 

Not only is the churchyard full, but the Kectory-garden 
is also thronged : pairs and parties of ladies and gentlemen 
are seen walking amongst the waving lilacs and laburnums. 
The house also is occupied : at the wide-open parlour- 
windows gay groups are standing. These are the patrons and 
teachers, who are to swell the procession. In the parson's 
croft, behind the Eectory, are the musicians of the three parish 
bands, with their instruments. Fanny and Eliza, in the 
smartest of caps and gowns, and the whitest of aprons, move 
amongst them, serving out quarts of ale ; whereof a stock 
was brewed very sound and strong some weeks since, by the 
Rector's orders, and under his special superintendence. 
Whatever he had a hand in, must be managed handsomely : 
'shabby doings,' of any description, were not endured under 
his sanction : from the erection of a public building, a church, 


school, or court-house, to the cooking of a dinner, he still 
advocated the lordly, liberal, and effective. Miss Keeldar 
was like him in this respect, and they mutually approved 
each other's arrangements. 

Caroline and Shirley were soon in the midst of the 
company ; the former met them very easily for her : instead 
of sitting down in a retired corner, or stealing away to her 
own room till the procession should be marshalled, according 
to her wont, she moved through the three parlours, con- 
versed and smiled, absolutely spoke once or twice ere she 
was spoken to, and, in short, seemed a new creature. It was 
Shirley's presence which thus transformed her : the view of 
Miss Keeldar's air and manner did her a world of good. 
Shirley had no fear of her kind ; no tendency to shrink from, 
to avoid it. All human beings, men, women, or children, 
whom low breeding or coarse presumption did not render 
positively offensive, were welcome enough to her: some 
much more so than others, of course ; but, generally speak- 
ing, till a man had indisputably proved himself bad and a 
nuisance, Shirley was willing to think him good and an 
acquisition, and to treat him accordingly. This disposition 
made her a general favourite, for it robbed her very raillery 
of its sting, and gave her serious or smiling conversation a 
happy charm : nor did it diminish the value of her intimate 
friendship, which was a distinct thing from this social 
benevolence, depending, indeed, on quite a different part of 
her character. Miss Helstone was the choice of her affec- 
tion and intellect ; the Misses Pearson, Sykes, Wynne, &c. 
&c., only the profilers by her good-nature and vivacity. 

Donne happened to come into the drawing-room while 
Shirley, sitting on the sofa, formed the centre of a tolerably 
wide circle. She had already forgotten her exasperation 
against him, and she bowed and smiled good-humouredly. 
The disposition of the man was then seen. He knew neither 
how to decline the advance with dignity, as one whose just 
pride has been wounded, nor how to meet it with frankness, 
as one who is glad to forget and forgive ; his punishment 


had impressed him with no sense of shame, and he did not 
experience that feeling on encountering his chastiser : he 
was not vigorous enough in evil to be actively malignant 
he merely passed by sheepishly with a rated, scowling 
look. Nothing could ever again reconcile him to his enemy ; 
while no passion of resentment, for even sharper and 
more ignominious inflictions, could his lymphatic nature 

' He was not worth a scene ! ' said Shirley to Caroline. 
' What a fool I was ! To revenge on poor Donne his silly 
spite at Yorkshire, is something like crushing a gnat for 
attacking the hide of a rhinoceros. Had I been a gentleman, 
I believe I should have helped him off the premises by dint 
of physical force : I am glad now I only employed the moral 
weapon. But he must come near me no more : I don't like 
him : he irritates me : there is not even amusement to be had 
out of him : Malone is better sport." 

It seemed as if Malone wished to justify the preference ; 
for the words were scarcely out of the speaker's mouth, when 
Peter Augustus came up, all in ' grande tenue,' gloved and 
scented, with his hair oiled and brushed to perfection, and 
bearing in one hand a huge bunch of cabbage-roses, five or 
six in full blow : these he presented to the heiress with a 
grace to which the most cunning pencil could do but defec- 
tive justice. And who, after this, could dare to say that 
Peter was not a lady's man ? he had gathered and he had 
given flowers : he had offered a sentimental a poetic tribute 
at the shrine of Love or Mammon. Hercules holding the 
distaff was but a faint type of Peter bearing the roses. He 
must have thought this himself, for he seemed amazed at 
what he had done : he backed without a word ; he was going 
away with a husky chuckle of self-felicitation ; then he be- 
thought himself to stop and turn, to ascertain by ocular 
testimony that he really had presented a bouquet : yes 
there were the six red cabbages on the purple satin lap, a 
very white hand, with some gold rings on the fingers, 
slightly holding them together, and streaming ringlets, half 


hiding a laughing face, drooped over them : only 7iaZ/-hiding : 
Peter saw the laugh it was unmistakable he was made a 
joke of his gallantry, his chivalry were the subject of a jest 
for a petticoat for two petticoats Miss Helstone too was 
smiling. Moreover, he felt he was seen through, and Peter 
grew black as a thunder-cloud. When Shirley looked up, a 
fell eye was fastened on her : Malone, at least, had energy 
enough in hate : she saw it in his glance. 

'Peter is worth a scene, and shall have it, if he likes, one 
day,' she whispered to her friend. 

And now solemn and sombre as to their colour, though 
bland enough as to their faces appeared at the dining-room 
door the three rectors : they had hitherto been busy in the 
church, and were now coming to take some little refreshment 
for the body, ere the march commenced. The large 
morocco-covered easy-chair had been left vacant for Dr. 
Boultby ; he was put into it, and Caroline, obeying the in- 
stigations of Shirley, who told her now was the time to play 
the hostess, hastened to hand to her uncle's vast, revered, 
and, on the whole, worthy friend, a glass of wine and a plate 
of macaroons. Boultby's churchwardens, patrons of the 
Sunday-school both, as he insisted on their being, were 
already beside him ; Mrs. Sykes and the other ladies of his 
congregation were on his right hand and on his left, express- 
ing their hopes that he was not fatigued, their fears that the 
day would be too warm for him. Mrs. Boultby, who held 
an opinion that when her lord dropped to sleep after a good 
dinner his face became as the face of an angel, was bending 
over him, tenderly wiping some perspiration, real or 
imaginary, from his brow : Boultby, in short, was in his 
glory, and in a round sound ' voix de poitrine,' he I'umbled 
out thanks for attentions, and assurances of his tolerable 
health. Of Caroline he took no manner of notice as she 
came near, save to accept what she offered : he did not see 
her, he never did see her : he hardly knew that such a person 
existed. He saw the macaroons, however, and being fond 
of sweets, possessed himself of a small handful thereof. 


The wine, Mrs. Boultby insisted on mingling with hot water, 
and qualifying with sugar and nutmeg. 

Mr. Hall stood near an open window, breathing the 
fresh air and scent of flowers, and talking like a brother to 
Miss Ainley. To him Caroline turned her attention with 
pleasure. ' What should she bring him ? He must not 
help himself he must be served by her; ' and she provided 
herself with a little salver, that she might offer him variety. 
Margaret Hall joined them ; so did Miss Keeldar : the four 
ladies stood round their favourite pastor : they also had an 
idea that they looked on the face of an earthly angel : Cyril 
Hall was their pope, infallible to them as Dr. Thomas 
Boultby to his admirers. A throng, too, enclosed the 
Rector of Briarfield : twenty or more pressed round him ; 
and no parson was ever more potent in a circle than old 
Helstone. The curates herding together after their manner, 
made a constellation of three lesser planets : divers young 
ladies watched them afar off, but ventured not nigh. 

Mr. Helstone produced his watch. ' Ten minutes to two,' 
he announced aloud. ' Time for all to fall into line. Come.' 
He seized his shovel-hat and marched away ; all rose and 
followed en masse. 

The twelve hundred children were drawn up in three 
bodies of four hundred souls each : in the rear of each regi- 
ment was stationed a band ; between every twenty there 
was an interval, wherein Helstone posted the teachers in 
pairs : to the van of the armies he summoned : ' Grace 
Boultby and Mary Sykes lead out Whinbury.' 

' Margaret Hall and Mary Ann Ainley conduct Nunnely.' 

4 Caroline Ht-lstone and Shirley Keeldar head Briarfield.' 

Then again he gave command : ' Mr. Donne to Whin- 
bury ; Mr. Sweeting to Nunnely ; Mr. Malone to Briar- 

And these gentlemen stepped up before the lady-generals. 

The rectors passed to the full front - the parish clerks 
fell to the extreme rear ; Helstone lifted his shovel-hat ; in 
an instant out clashed the eight bells in the tower, loud 


swelled the sounding bands, flute spoke and clarion answered, 
deep rolled the drums, and away they marched. 

The broad white road unrolled before the long procession, 
the sun and sky surveyed it cloudless, the wind tossed the 
tree-boughs above it, and the twelve hundred children, and 
one hundred and forty adults, of which it was composed, 
trod on in time and tune, with gay faces and glad hearts. 
It was a joyous scene, and a scene to do good : it was a day 
of happiness for rich and poor : the work, first of God, and 
then of the clergy. Let England's priests have their due : 
they are a faulty set in some respects, being only of common 
flesh and blood, like us all ; but the land would be badly off 
without them : Britain would miss her church, if that church 
fell. God save it t God also reform it ! 



NOT on combat bent, nor of foemen in search, was this 
priest-led and woman-officered company : yet their music 
played martial tunes, and to judge by the eyes and carriage 
of some, Miss Keeldar, for instance these sounds awoke, if 
not a martial, yet a longing spirit. Old Helstone, turning by 
chance, looked into her face, and he laughed, and she laughed 
at him. 

' There is no battle in prospect,' he said ; ' our country 
does not want us to fight for it : no foe or tyrant is 
questioning or threatening our liberty : there is nothing to 
be done : we are only taking a walk. Keep your hand on 
the reins, captain, and slack the fire of that spirit : it is not 
wanted ; the more's the pity.' 

' Take your own advice, Doctor,' was Shirley's response. 
To Caroline, she murmured, ' I'll borrow of imagination 
what reality will not give me. We are not soldiers blood- 
shed is not my desire ; or if we are, we are soldiers of the 
Cross. Time has rolled back some hundreds of years, and 
we are bound on a pilgrimage to Palestine. But no, that 
is too visionary. I need a sterner dream : we are Lowlanders 
of Scotland, following a covenanting captain up into the 
hills to hold a meeting out of the reach of persecuting 
troopers. We know that battle may follow prayer ; and, as 
we believe that in the worst issue of battle, heaven must be 
our reward, we are ready and willing to redden the peat-moss 
with our blood. That music stirs my soul ; it wakens all 
my life ; it makes my heart beat : not with its temperate 


daily pulse, but with a new, thrilling vigour. I almost long 
for danger; for a faith a land or, at least, a lover to 

1 Look Shirley ! ' interrupted Caroline. ' What is that 
red speck above Stilbro' Brow ? You have keener sight than 
I ; just turn your eagle eye to it.' 

Miss Keeldar looked. 

' I see,' she said : then added, presently, ' There is a line 
of red. They are soldiers cavalry soldiers,' she subjoined 
quickly : ' they ride fast : there are six of them : they will 
pass us : no they have turned off to the right : they saw 
our procession, and avoid it by making a circuit. Where 
are they going ? ' 

' Perhaps they are only exercising their horses.' 

' Perhaps so. We see them no more now.' 

Mr. Helstone here spoke. 

' W T e shall pass through Boyd-lane, to reach Nunnely 
Common by a short cut,' said he. 

And into the straits of Eoyd-lane they accordingly defiled. 
It was very narrow, so narrow that only two could walk 
abreast without falling into the ditch which ran along each 
side. They had gained the middle of it, when excitement 
became obvious in the clerical commanders : Boultby's spec- 
tacles and Helstone's Eehoboam were agitated : the curates 
nudged each other : Mr. Hall turned to the ladies and 

' What is the matter ? ' was the demand. 

He pointed with his staff to the end of the lane before 
them. Lo and behold ! another, an opposition procession 
was there entering, headed also by men in black, and 
followed also, as they could now hear, by music. 

' Is it our double ? ' asked Shirley : ' our manifold wraith ? 
Here is a card turned up.' 

' If you wanted a battle, you are likely to get one, at 
least of looks,' whispered Caroline, laughing. 

' They shall not pass us ! ' cried the curates, unanimously : 
' we'll not give way ! ' 


1 Give way ! ' retorted Helstone, sternly, turning round ; 
' who talks of giving way ? You, boys, mind what you are 
about : the ladies, I know, will be firm ; I can trust them. 
There is not a churchwoman here but will stand her ground 
against these folks, for the honour of the Establishment. 
What does Miss Keeldar say? ' 

1 She asks what is it ? ' 

'The Dissenting and Methodist schools, the Baptists, 
Independents, and Wesleyans, joined in unholy alliance, 
and turning purposely into this lane with the intention of 
obstructing our march and driving us back.' 

' Bad manners ! ' said Shirley ; ' and I hate bad manners. 
Of course, they must have a lesson.' 

' A lesson in politeness,' suggested Mr. Hall, who was 
ever for peace : ' not an example of rudeness.' 

Old Helstone moved on. Quickening his step, he marched 
some yards in advance of his company. He had nearly 
reached the other sable leaders, when he who appeared to 
act as the hostile commander-in-chief a large, greasy man, 
with black hair combed flat on his forehead called a halt. 
The procession paused ; he drew forth a hymn-book, gave 
out a verse, set a tune, and they all struck up the most 
dolorous of canticles. 

Helstone signed to his bands : they clashed out with 
all the power of brass. He desired them to play ' Eule, 
Britannia,' and ordered the children to join in vocally, which 
they did with enthusiastic spirit. The enemy was sung and 
stormed down ; his psalm quelled : as far as noise went, 
he was conquered. 

' Now, follow me ! ' exclaimed Helstone ; ' not at a run, 
but at a firm, smart pace. Be steady, every child and 
woman of you : keep together : hold on by each other's 
skirts, if necessary.' 

And he strode on with such a determined and deliberate 
gait, and was, besides, so well seconded by his scholars and 
teachers who did exactly as he told them, neither running 
nor faltering, but marching with cool, solid impetus; the 


curates, too, being compelled to do the same, as they were 
between two fires, Helstone and Miss Keeldar, both of 
whom watched any deviation with lynx-eyed vigilance, and 
were ready, the one with his cane, the other with her 
parasol, to rebuke the slightest breach of orders, the least 
independent or irregular demonstration, that the body of 
Dissenters were first amazed, then alarmed, then borne 
down and pressed back, and at last forced to turn tail and 
leave the outlet from Eoyd-lane free. Boultby suffered in 
the onslaught, but Helstone and Malone, between them, 
held him up, and brought him through the business, whole 
in limb, though sorely tried in wind. 

The fat Dissenter who had given out the hymn was left 
sitting in the ditch. He was a spirit-merchant by trade, 
a leader of the Nonconformists, and, it was said, drank 
more water in that one afternoon than he had swallowed 
for a twelvemonth before. Mr. Hall had taken care of 
Caroline, and Caroline of him : he and Miss Ainley made 
their own quiet comments to each other afterwards on the 
incident. Miss Keeldar and Mr. Helstone shook hands 
heartily when they had fairly got the whole party through 
the lane. The curates began to exult, but Mr. Helstone 
presently put the curb on their innocent spirits : he remarked 
that they never had sense to know what to say, and had 
better hold their tongues : and he reminded them that the 
business was none of their managing. 

About half-past three the procession turned back, and 
at four once more regained the starting-place. Long lines 
of benches were arranged in the close-shorn fields round 
the school : there the children were seated, and huge baskets, 
covered up with white cloths, and great smoking tin vessels, 
were brought out. Ere the distribution of good things 
commenced, a brief grace was pronounced by Mr. Hall, and 
sung by the children : their young voices sounded melodious, 
even touching, in the open air. Large currant buns, and 
hot, well-sw r eetened tea, were then administered in the 
proper spidt of liberality ; no stinting was permitted on this 


day, at least ; the rule for each child's allowance being that 
it was to have about twice as much as it could possibly eat, 
thus leaving a reserve to be carried home for such as age, 
sickness, or other impediment, prevented from coming to 
the feast. Buns and beer circulated, meantime, amongst 
the musicians and church -singers : afterwards the benches 
were removed, and they were left to unbend their spirits in 
licensed play. 

A bell summoned the teachers, patrons, and patronesses 
to the schoolroom ; Miss Keeldar, Miss Helstone, and many 
other ladies were already there, glancing over the arrange- 
ment of their separate trays and tables. Most of the female 
servants of the neighbourhood, together with the clerks', the 
singers', and the musicians' wives, had been pressed into the 
service of the day as waiters : each vied with the other in 
smartness and daintiness of dress, and many handsome 
forms were seen amongst the younger ones. About half 
a score were cutting bread-and-butter ; another half-score 
supplying hot water, brought from the coppers of the Rector's 
kitchen. The profusion of flowers and evergreens decorating 
the white walls, the show of silver teapots and bright 
porcelain on the tables, the active figures, blithe faces, gay 
dresses, flitting about everywhere, formed altogether a 
refreshing and lively spectacle. Everybody talked, not very 
loudly, but merrily, and the canary birds sang shrill in 
their high-hung cages. 

Caroline, as the Rector's niece, took her place at one of 
the first three tables ; Mrs. Boultby and Margaret Hall 
officiated at the others. At these tables the e"lite of the com- 
pany were to be entertained ; strict rules of equality not being 
more in fashion at Briarfield than elsewhere. Miss Hel- 
stone removed her bonnet and scarf, that she might be 
less oppressed with the heat ; her long curls, falling on her 
neck, served almost in place of a veil, and for the rest, her 
muslin dress was fashioned modestly as a nun's robe 
enabling her thus to dispense with the encumbrance of a 


The room was filling : Mr. Hall had taken his post beside 
Caroline, who now, as she re-arranged the cups and spoons 
before her, whispered to him in a low voice remarks on the 
events of the day. He looked a little grave about what had 
taken place in Koyd-lane, and she tried to smile him out of 
his seriousness. Miss Keeldar sat near; for a wonder, 
neither laughing nor talking ; on the contrary, very still, and 
gazing round her vigilantly : she seemed afraid lest some 
intruder should take a seat she apparently wished to 
reserve next her own : ever and anon she spread her satin 
dress over an undue portion of the bench, or laid her gloves 
or her embroidered handkerchief upon it. Caroline noticed 
this manege at last, and asked her what friend she expected. 
Shirley bent towards her, almost touched her ear with her 
rosy lips, and whispered with a musical softness that often 
characterized her tones when what she said tended even 
remotely to stir some sweet secret source of feeling in her 
heart : ' I expect Mr. Moore : I saw him last night, and I 
made him promise to come with his sister, and to sit at our 
table : he won't fail me, I feel certain, but I apprehend his 
coming too late, and being separated from us. Here is a 
fresh batch arriving ; every place will be taken : provoking ! ' 

In fact Mr. Wynne the magistrate, his wife, his son, and 
his two daughters, now entered in high state. They were 
Briariield gentry : of course their place was at the first 
table, and being conducted hither, they filled up the whole 
remaining space. For Miss Keeldar's comfort, Mr. Sam 
Wynne inducted himself into the very vacancy she had 
kept for Moore, planting himself solidly on her gown, her 
gloves, and her handkerchief. Mr. Sam was one of the 
objects of her aversion : and the more so because he showed 
serious symptoms of an aim at her hand. The old gentle- 
man, too, had publicly declared that the Fieldhead estate 
and the De Walden estate were delightfully contagious a 
malapropism which rumour had not failed to repeat to 

Caroline's ears yet ruug with that thrilling whisper, ' I 


expect Mr. Moore,' her heart yet beat and her cheek yet 
glowed with it, when a note from the organ pealed above 
the confused hum of the place. Dr. Boultby, Mr. Helstone, 
and Mr. Hall rose, so did all present, and gr-ace was sung 
to the accompaniment of the music : and then tea began. 
She was kept too busy with her office for a while to have 
leisure for looking round, but the last cup being filled, she threw 
a restless glance over the room. There were some ladies 
and several gentlemen standing about yet unaccommodated 
with seats ; amidst a group she recognised her spinster friend, 
Miss Mann, whom the fine w r eather had tempted, or some 
urgent friend had persuaded, to leave her drear solitude for 
one hour of social enjoyment. Miss Mann looked tired of 
standing : a lady in a yellow bonnet brought her a chair. 
Caroline knew well that ' chapeau en satin jaune; ' she 
knew the black hair, and the kindly, though rather 
opinionated and froward-looking face under it ; she knew 
that ' robe de soie noire ; ' she knew even that ' schal gris de 
lin ; ' she knew, in short, Hortense Moore, and she wanted to 
jump up and run to her and kiss her to give her one 
embrace for her own sake, and two for her brother's. She 
half rose, indeed, with a smothered exclamation, and perhaps 
for the impulse w r as very strong she would have run across 
the room, and actually saluted her, but a hand replaced 
her in her seat, and a voice behind her whispered : ' Wait 
till after tea, Lina, and then I'll bring her to you.' 

And when she could look up she did, and there was 
Robert himself close behind, smiling at her eagerness, looking 
better than she had ever seen him look looking, indeed, to 
her partial eyes, so very handsome, that she dared not trust 
herself to hazard a second glance ; for his image struck on 
her vision with painful brightness, and pictured itself on her 
memory as vividly as if there daguerreotyped by a pencil of 
keen lightning. 

He moved on, and spoke to Miss Keeldar. Shirley, 
irritated by some unwelcome attentions from Sam Wynne, 
and by the fact of that gentleman being still seated on her 


gloves and handkerchief and probably, also, by Moore's 
want, of punctuality was by no means in good humour. She 
first shrugged her shoulders at him, and then she said a bitter 
word or two about his ' insupportable tardiness.' Moore 
neither apologized nor retorted; he stood near her quietly, 
as if waiting to see whether she would recover her temper ; 
which she did in little more than three minutes, indicating 
the change by offering him her hand. Moore took it with a 
smile, half-corrective, half-grateful : the slightest possible 
shake of the head delicately marked the former quality ; it 
is probable a gentle pressure indicated the latter. 

' You may sit where you can, now, Mr. Moore,' said 
Shirley, also smiling : ' you see there is not an inch of room 
for you here ; but I discern plenty of space at Mrs. Boultby's 
table, between Miss Armitage and Miss Birtwhistle ; go : John 
Sykes will be your vis-a-vis, and you will sit with your back 
towards us.' 

Moore, however, preferred lingering about where he was : 
he now and then took a turn down the long room, pausing 
in his walk to interchange greetings with other gentlemen 
in his own placeless predicament ; but still he came back to 
the magnet, Shirley, bringing with him, each time he re- 
turned, observations it was necessary to whisper in her ear. 

Meantime, poor Sam Wynne looked far from comfortable : 
his fair neighbour, judging from her movements, appeared 
in a mood the most unquiet and unaccommodating : she would 
not sit still two seconds : she was hot ; she fanned herself ; 
complained of want of air and space. She remarked that, 
in her opinion, when people had finished their tea they ought 
to leave the tables, and announced distinctly that she 
expected to faint if the present state of things continued. 
Mr. Sarn offered to accompany her into the open air ; just 
the way to give her her death of cold, she alleged : in short, 
his post became untenable ; and having swallowed his 
quantum of tea, he judged it expedient to evacuate. 

Moore should have been at hand, whereas he was quite 
at the other extremity of the room, deep in conference with 


Christopher Sykes. A large corn-factor, Timothy Ramsden, 
Esq., happened to be nearer, and feeling himself tired of 
standing, he advanced to fill the vacant seat. Shirley's 
expedients did not fail her : a sweep of her scarf upset her 
teacup, its contents were shared between the bench and her 
own satin dress. Of course, it became necessary to call a 
waiter to remedy the mischief : Mr. Ramsden, a stout, puffy 
gentleman, as large in person as he was in property, held 
aloof from the consequent commotion. Shirley, usually 
almost culpably indifferent to slight accidents affecting dress, 
&c., now made a commotion that might have become the 
most delicate and nervous of her sex ; Mr. Ramsden opened 
his mouth, withdrew slowly, and, as Miss Keeldar again 
intimated her intention to ' give way ' and swoon on the spot, 
he turned on his heel, and beat a heavy retreat. 

Moore at last returned : calmly suveying the bustle, and 
somewhat quizzically scanning Shirley's enigmatical-looking 
countenance, he remarked, that in truth this was the hottest 
end of the room ; that he found a climate there calculated 
to agree with none but cool temperaments like his own ; 
and, putting the waiters, the napkins, the satin robe, the 
whole turmoil, in short, to one side, he installed himself 
where destiny evidently decreed he should sit. Shirley 
subsided ; her features altered their lines : the raised knit 
brow and inexplicable curve of the mouth became straight 
again : wilfulness and roguery gave place to other ex- 
pressions ; and all the angular movements with w r hich she 
had vexed the soul of Sam Wynne were conjured to rest as 
by a charm. Still, no gracious glance was cast on Moore : 
on the contrary, he was accused of giving her a world of 
trouble, and roundly charged with being the cause of de- 
priving her of the esteem of Mr. Ramsden, and the invaluable 
friendship of Mr. Samuel Wynne. 

' Wouldn't have offended either gentleman for the 
world,' she averred : ' I have always been accustomed to 
treat both with the most respectful consideration, and there, 
owing to you, how they have been used ! I shall not be 

318 SHiRLM 

liappy till I have made it up : I never am happy till I ani 
friends with my neighbours ; so to-morrow I must make a 
pilgrimage to Eoyd corn-mill, soothe the miller, and praise 
the grain ; and next day I must call at De Walden where 
I hate to go and carry in my reticule half an oat-cake to 
give to Mr. Sam's favourite pointers.' 

1 You know the surest path to the heart of each swain, I 
doubt not,' said Moore quietly. He looked very content to 
have at last secured his present place ; but he made no fine 
speech expressive of gratification, and offered no apology for 
the trouble he had given. His phlegm became him wonder- 
fully : it made him look handsomer, he was so composed : 
it made his vicinage pleasant, it was so peace-restoring. 
You would not have thought, to look at him, that he was a 
poor, struggling man seated beside a rich woman ; the 
calm of equality stilled his aspect : perhaps that calm, too, 
reigned in his soul. Now and then, from the way in which 
he looked down on Miss Keeldar as he addressed her, you 
would have fancied his station towered above hers as much 
as his stature did. Almost stern lights sometimes crossed 
his brow and gleamed in his eyes : their conversation had 
become animated, though it was confined to a low key : she 
was urging him with questions evidently, he refused to her 
curiosity all the gratification it demanded. She sought his 
eye once with hers : you read, in its soft yet eager ex- 
pression, that it solicited clearer replies. Moore smiled 
pleasantly, but his lips continued sealed. Then she was 
piqued and turned away, but he recalled her attention in two 
minutes : he seemed making promises, which he soothed her 
into accepting, in lieu of information. 

It appeared that the heat of the room did not suit Miss 
Helstone : she grew paler and paler as the process of tea- 
making was protracted. The moment thanks were returned, 
she quitted the table, and hastened to follow her cousin 
llortense, who, with Miss Mann, had already sought the 
open air. Robert Moore had risen when she did perhaps 
he meant to speak to her ; but there was yet a parting word 


to exchange with Miss Keeldar, and while it was being 
uttered, Caroline had vanished 

Hortense received her former pupil with a demeanour of 
more dignity than warmth : she had been seriously offended 
by Mr. Helstone's proceedings, and had all along considered 
Caroline to blame, in obeying her uncle too literally. 

' You are a very great stranger,' she said, austerely, as 
her pupil held and pressed her hand. The pupil knew her 
too well to remonstrate or complain of coldness ; she let 
the punctilious whim pass, sure that her natural bontd (I 
use this French word, because it expresses just what I 
mean ; neither goodness nor good nature, but something 
between the two) would presently get the upper-hand. It 
did : Hortense had no sooner examined her face well, and 
observed the change its somewhat wasted features betrayed, 
than her mien softened. Kissing her on both cheeks, she 
asked anxiously after her health : Caroline answered gaily. 
It would, however, have been her lot to undergo a long cross- 
examination, followed by an endless lecture on this head, 
had not Miss Mann called off the attention of the questioner, 
by requesting to be conducted home. The poor invalid was 
already fatigued : her weariness made her cross too cross 
almost to speak to Caroline : and besides, that young 
person's white dress and lively look were displeasing in the 
eyes of Miss . Mann : the everyday garb of brown stuff or 
gray gingham, and the everyday air of melancholy, suited 
the solitary spinster better : she would hardly know her 
young friend to-night and quitted her with a cool nod. 
Hortense having promised to accompany her home, they 
departed together. 

Caroline now looked round for Shirley. She saw the 
rainbow scarf and purple dress in the centre of a throng of 
ladies, all well known to herself, but all of the order whom 
she systematically avoided whenever avoidance was possible. 
Shyer at some moments than at others, she felt just now no 
courage at all to join this company : she could not, however, 
stand alone where all others went in pairs or parties, so 

320 , SHIRLEY 

she approached a group of her own scholars, great girls, or 
rather young women, who were standing watching some 
hundreds of the younger children playing at blind-man's- 

Miss Helstone knew these girls liked her, yet she was shy 
even with them out of school : they were not more in awe 
of her than she of them : she drew near them now, rather to 
find protection in their company than to patronize them with 
her presence. By some instinct they knew her weakness, 
and with natural politeness they respected it. Her know- 
ledge commanded their esteem when she taught them ; her 
gentleness attracted their regard ; and because she was 
what they considered wise and good when on duty they 
kindly overlooked her evident timidity when off: they did 
not take advantage of it. Peasant girls as they were, they 
had too much of her own English sensibility to be guilty of 
the coarse error : they stood round her still, civil, friendly, 
receiving her slight smiles, and rather hurried efforts to 
converse, with good feeling and good breeding : the last 
quality being the result of the first, which soon set her at her 

Mr. Sam Wynne coming up with great haste to insist on 
the elder girls joining in the game as well as the younger 
ones, Caroline was again left alone. She was meditating a 
quiet retreat to the house, when Shirley, perceiving from afar 
her isolation, hastened to her side. 

' Let us go to the top of the fields,' she said : ' I know 
you don't like crowds, Caroline.' 

' But it will be depriving you of a pleasure, Shirley, to 
take you from all these fine people, who court your society 
so assiduously, and to whom you can, without art or effort, 
make yourself so pleasant.' 

' Not quite without effort : I am already tired of the 
exertion : it is but insipid barren work, talking and laughing 
with the good gentlefolks of Briarfield. I have been looking 
out for your white dress for the last ten minutes : I like to 
watch those I love in a crowd, and to compare them with 


others : I have thus compared you. You resemble none of 
the rest, Lina : there are some prettier faces than yours 
here ; you are not a model-beauty like Harriet Sykes, for 
instance ; beside her, your person appears almost insignifi- 
cant ; but you look agreeable you look reflective you look 
what I call interesting.' 

' Hush, Shirley ! You flatter me.' 
' I don't wonder that your scholars like you.' 
'Nonsense, Shirley : talk of something else.' 
' We will talk of Moore, then, and we will watch him : I 
see him even now.' 

' Where ? ' And as Caroline asked the question, she 
looked not over the fields, but into Miss Keeldar's eyes, as 
was her wont whenever Shirley mentioned any object she 
descried afar. Her friend had quicker vision than herself ; 
and Caroline seemed to think that the secret of her eagle 
acuteness might be read in her dark gray irids : or rather, 
perhaps, she only sought guidance by the direction of those 
discriminating and brilliant spheres. 

1 There is Moore,' said Shirley, pointing right across the 
wide field where a thousand children were playing, and now 
nearly a thousand adult spectators walking about. ' There 
can you miss the tall stature and straight port ? He looks 
amidst the set that surround him like Eliab amongst 
humbler shepherds like Saul in a war-council : and a war- 
council it is, if I am not mistaken.' 

' Why so, Shirley ? ' asked Caroline, whose eye had at last 
caught the object it sought. ' Robert is just now speaking 
to my uncle, and they are shaking hands ; they are then 

' Reconciled not without good reason, depend on it : 
making common cause against some common foe. And 
why, think you, are Messrs. Wynne and Sykes, and 
Armitage and Ramsden, gathered in such a close circle 
round them? And why is Malone beckoned to join them? 
Where he is summoned, be sure a strong arm is needed.' 
Shirley, as she watched, grew restless : her eyes flashed. 


' They won't trust me,' she said : ' that is always the 
way when it comes to the point.' 

' What about ? ' 

1 Cannot you feel ? There is some mystery afloat : some 
event is expected ; some preparation is to be made, I am 
certain : I saw it all in Mr. Moore's manner this evening : 
he was excited, yet hard.' 

' Hard to you, Shirley ! ' 

'Yes, to me. He often is hard to me. We seldom 
converse tete-a-tete, but I am made to feel that the basis of 
his character is not of eider-down.' 

1 Yet he seemed to talk to you softly.' 

' Did he not ? Very gentle tones and quiet manner ; 
yet the man is peremptory and secret : his secrecy vexes 

' Yes Robert is secret.' 

' Which he has scarcely a right to be with me ; especially 
as he commenced by giving me his confidence. Having 
done nothing to forfeit that confidence, it ought not to be 
withdrawn : but I suppose I am not considered iron-souled 
enough to be trusted in a crisis.' 

1 He fears, probably, to occasion you uneasiness.' 

' An unnecessary precaution : I am of elastic materials, 
not soon crushed ; he ought to know that : but the man is 
proud : he has his faults, say what you will, Lina. Observe 
how engaged that group appear : they do not know we are 
watching tliein.' 

' If we keep on the alert, Shirley, we shall perhaps find 
the clue to their secret. 

' There will be some unusual movements erelong 
perhaps to-morrow possibly to-night. But my eyes and 
ears are wide open : Mr. Moore, you shall be under surveil- 
lance. Be you vigilant also, Lina.' 

' I will : Robert is going, I saw him turn I believe he 
noticed us they are shaking hands.' 

' Shaking hands, with emphasis,' added Shirley ; ' as if 
they were ratifying some solemn league and covenant.' 


They saw Robert quit the group, pass through a gate, 
and disappear. 

1 And he has not bid us good-by,' murmured Caroline. 

Scarcely had the words escaped her lips, when she tried 
by a smile to deny the confession of disappointment they 
seemed to imply. An unbidden suffusion for one moment 
both softened and brightened her eyes. 

' Oh, that is soon remedied ! ' exclaimed Shirley. ' We'll 
make him bid us good-by.' 

' Make him ! That is not the same thing,' was the 

' It shall be the same thing.' 

' But he is gone : you can't overtake him.' 

' I know a shorter way than that he has taken : we will 
intercept him.' 

' But, Shirley, I would rather not go.' 

Caroline said this as Miss Keeldar seized her arm, and 
hurried her down the fields. It was vain to contend : 
nothing was so wilful as Shirley, when she took a whim into 
her head : Caroline found herself out of sight of the crowd 
almost before she was aware, and ushered into a narrow 
shady spot, embowered above with hawthorns, and enamelled 
under foot with daisies. She took no notice of the evening 
sun chequering the turf, nor was she sensible of the pure 
incense exhaling at this hour from tree and plant ; she only 
heard the wicket opening at one end, and knew Kobert was 
approaching. The long sprays of the hawthorns, shooting 
out before them, served as a screen ; they saw him before 
he observed them. At a glance Caroline perceived that his 
social hilarity was gone : he had left it behind him in the 
joy-echoing fields round the school ; what remained now 
was his dark, quiet, business countenance. As Shirley had 
said, a certain hardness characterised his air, while his eye 
was excited, but austere. So much the worse-timed was 
the present freak of Shirley's : if he had looked disposed 
for holiday mirth, it would not have mattered much, but 




' I told you not to come,' said Caroline, somewhat 
bitterly, to her friend. She seemed truly perturbed : to be 
intruded on Eobert thus, against her will and his expecta- 
tion, and when he evidently would rather not be delayed, 
keenly annoyed her. It did not annoy Miss Keeldar in the 
least : she stepped forward and faced her tenant, barring 
his way : ' You omitted to bid us good-by,' she said. 

' Omitted to bid you good-by ! Where did you come 
from ? Are you fairies ? I left two like you, one in purple 
and one in white, standing at the top of a bank, four fields 
off, but a minute ago.' 

'You left us there and find us here. We have been 
watching you; and shall watch you still: you must be 
questioned one day, but not now : at present, all you have 
to do is to say good-night, and then pass.' 

Moore glanced from one to the other, without unbending 
his aspect. ' Days of fete have their privileges, and so have 
days of hazard,' observed he, gravely. 

' Come don't moralize : say good-night, and pass,' urged 

' Must I say good -night to you, Miss Keeldar ? 

'Yes, and to Caroline likewise. It is nothing new, I 
hope : you have bid us both good-night before.' 

He took her hand, held it in one of his, and covered it 
with the other : he looked down at her gravely, kindly, yet 
cornmandingly. The heiress could not make this man her 
subject : in his gaze on her bright face there was no 
servility, hardly homage ; but there was interest and affec- 
tion, heightened by another feeling : something in his tone 
when he spoke, as well as in his words, marked that last 
sentiment to be gratitude. 

' Your debtor bids you good-night ! May you rest 
safely and serenely till morning.' 

' And you, Mr. Moore, what are you going to do ? 
What have you been saying to Mr. Helstone, with whom I 
saw you shake hands ? Why did all those gentlemen gather 
round you ? Put away reserve for once : be frank with me.' 


1 Who can resist you ? I will be frank : to-morrow, if 
there is anything to relate, you shall hear it.' 

'Just now,' pleaded Shirley : ' don't procrastinate.' 

1 But I could only tell half a tale ; and my time is 
limited, I have not a moment to spare: hereafter I will 
make amends for delay by candour.' 

' But are you going home ? ' 

' Yes.' 

' Not to leave it any more to-night ? ' 

1 Certainly not. At present, farewell to both of you ! ' 

He would have taken Caroline's hand and joined it in 
the same clasp in which he held Shirley's, but somehow it 
was not ready for him ; she had withdrawn a few steps 
apart : her answer to Moore's adieu was only a slight bend 
of the head, and a gentle, serious smile. He sought no more 
cordial token : again he said ' Farewell ! ' and quitted them 

' There ! it is over 1 ' said Shirley, when he was gone. 
'We have made him bid us good-night, and yet not lost 
ground in his esteem, I think, Gary.' 

' I hope not,' was the brief reply. 

' I consider you very timid and undemonstrative/ re- 
marked Miss Keeldar. ' Why did you not give Moore your 
hand when he offered you his ? He is your cousin : you like 
him. Are you ashamed to let him perceive your affection ? ' 

' He perceives all of it that interests him : no need to 
make a display of feeling.' 

' You are laconic : you would be stoical if you could. Is 
love, in your eyes, a crime, Caroline ? ' 

1 Love, a crime ! ' No, Shirley love is a divine virtue ; 
but why drag that word into the conversation ? It is 
singularly irrelevant ! ' 

' Good ! ' pronounced Shirley. 

The two girls paced the green lane in silence. Caroline 
first resumed. 

' Obtrusiveness is a crime ; forwardness is a crime ; and 
both disgust : but love ! no purest angel need blush to love I 


And when I see or hear either man or woman couple shame 
with love, I know their minds are coarse, their associations 
debased. Many who think themselves refined ladies and 
gentlemen, and on whose lips the word "-vulgarity " is for 
ever hovering, cannot mention " love " without betraying 
their own innate and imbecile degradation : it is a low feel- 
ing in their estimation, connected only with low ideas for 

' You describe three-fourths of the world, Caroline.' 
' They are cold they are cowardly they are stupid on 
the subject, Shirley ! They never loved they never were 
loved ! ' 

' Thou art right, Lina ! And in their dense ignorance 
they blaspheme living fire, seraph-brought from a divine 

1 They confound it with sparks mounting from Tophet ! ' 
The sudden and joyous clash of bells here stopped the 
dialogue by summoning all to the church. 



THE evening was still and warm ; close and sultry it even 
promised to become. Round the descending sun the clouds 
glowed purple : summer tints, rather Indian than English, 
suffused the horizon, and cast rosy reflections on hill-side, 
house-front, tree-bole ; on winding road, and undulating 
pasture-ground. The two girls came down from the fields 
slowly : by the time they reached the churchyard the bells 
were hushed ; the multitudes were gathered into the church : 
the whole scene was solitary. 

' How pleasant and calm it is ! ' said Caroline. 

' And how hot it will be in the church ! ' responded 
Shirley ; ' and what a dreary long speech Dr. Boultby will 
make ! and how the curates will hammer over their prepared 
orations ! For my part, I would rather not enter.' 

' But my uncle will be angry, if he observes our 

' I will bear the brunt of his wrath : he will not devour 
me. I shall be sorry to miss his pungent speech. I know 
it will bo all sense for the Church, and all causticity for 
Schism : he'll not forget the battle of Royd-lane. I shall be 
sorry also to deprive you of Mr. Hall's sincere friendly 
homily, with all its racy Yorkshireisms ; but here I must 
stay. The gray church and grayer tombs look divine with 
this crimson gleam on them. Nature is now at her evening 
prayers : she is kneeling before those red hills. I see her 
prostrate on the great steps of her altar, praying for a fair 


night for mariners at sea, for travellers in deserts, for lambs 
on moors, and unfledged birds in woods. Caroline, I see 
her ! and I will tell you what she is like : she is like what 
Eve was when she and Adam stood alone on earth.' 
' And that is not Milton's Eve, Shirley.' 
' Milton's Eve ! Milton's Eve ! I repeat. No, by the 
pure Mother of God, she is not ! Gary, we are alone : we 
may speak what we think. Milton was great ; but was he 
good? His brain was right; how was his heart ? He saw 
heaven : he looked down on hell. He saw Satan, and Sin 
his daughter, and Death their horrible offspring. Angels 
serried before him their battalions : the long lines of 
adamantine shields flashed back on his blind eyeballs the 
unutterable splendour of heaven. Devils gathered their 
legions in his sight : their dim, discrowned, and tarnished 
armies passed rank and file before him. Milton tried to see 
the first woman ; but, Gary, he saw her not.' 
' You are bold to say so, Shirley.' 

' Not more bold than faithful. It was his cook that he 
saw ; or it was Mrs. Gill, as I have seen her, making custards, 
in the heat of summer, in the cool dairy, with rose-trees and 
nasturtiums about the latticed window, preparing a cold 
collation for the rectors, preserves, and " dulcet creams " 

What choice to choose for delicacy best ; 
What order so contrived as not to mil 
Tastes, not well-joined, inelegant ; but bring 
Taste after taste, upheld with kindliest change.' 

' All very well too, Shirley.' 

' I would beg to remind him that the first men of the 
earth were Titans, and that Eve was their mother : from 
her sprang Saturn, Hyperion, Oceanus ; she bore Prome- 
theus ' 

' Pagan that you are ! what does that signify ? ' 

' I say, there were giants on the earth in those days : 
giants that strove to scale heaven. The first woman's breast 
that heaved with life on this world yielded the daring which 


could contend with Omnipotence : the strength which could 
bear a thousand years of bondage, the vitality which could 
feed that vulture death through uncounted ages, the un- 
exhausted life and uncorrupted excellence, sisters to im- 
mortality, which, after millenniums of crimes, struggles, 
and woes, could conceive and bring forth a Messiah. The 
first woman was heaven-born : vast was the heart whence 
gushed the well-spring of the blood of nations ; and grand 
the undegenerate head where rested the consort-crown of 

' She coveted an apple, and was cheated by a snake : but 
you have got such a hash of Scripture and mythology into 
your head that there is no making any sense of you. You 
have not yet told me what you saw kneeling on those hills.' 

' I saw I now see a woman-Titan : her robe of blue 
air spreads to the outskirts of the heath, where yonder flock 
is grazing ; a veil white as an avalanche sweeps from her 
head to her feet, and arabesques of lightning flame on its 
borders. Under her breast I see her zone, purple like that 
horizon : through its blush shines the star of evening. Her 
steady eyes I cannot picture ; they are clear they ave deep 
as lakes they are lifted and full of worship they tremble 
with the softness of love and the lustre of prayer. Her 
forehead has the expanse of a cloud, and is paler than the 
early moon, risen long before dark gathers : she reclines her 
bosom on the ridge of Stilbro' Moor ; her mighty hands are 
joined beneath it. So kneeling, face to face she speaks with 
God. That Eve is Jehovah's daughter, as Adam was his son.' 

' She is very vague and visionary ! Come, Shirley, we 
ought to go into church.' 

' Caroline, I will not : I will stay out here with my 
mother Eve, in these days called Nature. I love her 
undying, mighty being ! Heaven may have faded from her 
brow when she fell in paradise ; but all that is glorious on 
earth shines there still. She is taking me to her bosom, and 
showing me her heart. Hush, Caroline ! you will see her 
and feel as I do, if we are both silent.' 


' I will humour your whim ; but you will begin talking 
again, ere ten minutes are over.' 

Miss Keeldar, on whom the soft excitement of the warm 
summer evening seemed working with unwonted power, 
leaned against an upright headstone : she fixed her eyes on 
the deep-burning west, and sank into a pleasurable trance. 
Caroline, going a little apart, paced to and fro beneath the 
Rectory garden-wall, dreaming, too, in her way. Shirley 
had mentioned the word ' mother : ' that word suggested to 
Caroline's imagination not the mighty and mystical parent 
of Shirley's visions, but a gentle human form the form she 
ascribed to her own mother ; unknown, unloved, but not 
unlonged for. 

' Oh, that the day would come when she would remem- 
ber her child ! Oh, that I might know her, and knowing, 
love her ! ' 

Such was her aspiration. 

The longing of her childhood filled her soul again. The 
desire which many a night had kept her awake in her crib, 
and which fear of its fallacy had of late years almost 
extinguished, relit suddenly, and glowed warm in her heart : 
that her mother might come some happy day, and send for 
her to her presence look upon her fondly with loving eyes, 
and say to her tenderly in a sweet voice : ' Caroline, my 
child, I have a home for you : you shall live with me. All 
the love you have needed, and not tasted, from infancy, 
I have saved for you carefully. Come ! it shall cherish you 

A noise on the road roused Caroline from her filial 
hopes, and Shirley from her Titan visions. They listened, 
and heard the tramp of horses : they looked, and saw a 
glitter through the trees : they caught through the foliage 
glimpses of martial scarlet ; helm shone, plume waved. Silent 
and orderly, six soldiers rode softly by. 

' The same we saw this afternoon,' whispered Shirley : 
' they have been halting somewhere till now. They wish 
to be as little noticed as possible, and are seeking their 


rendezvous at this quiet hour, while the people are at 
church. Did I not say we should see unusual things ere 
long ? ' 

Scarcely were sight and sound of the soldiers lost, when 
another and somewhat different disturbance broke the night- 
hush a child's impatient scream. They looked : a man 
issued from the church, carrying in his arms an infant 
a robust, ruddy little boy, of some two years old roaring 
with all the power of his lungs : he had probably just 
awaked from a church-sleep : two little girls, of nine and ten, 
followed. The influence of the fresh air, and the attraction 
of some flowers gathered from a grave, soon quieted the 
child ; the man sat down with him, dandling him on his knee 
as tenderly as any woman ; the two girls took their places 
one on each side. 

' Good-evening, William,' said Shirley, after due scrutiny 
of the man. He had seen her before, and apparently was 
waiting to be recognised ; he now took off his hat, and 
grinned a smile of pleasure. He was a rough-headed, hard- 
featured personage, not old, but very weather-beaten ; his 
attire was decent and clean, that of his children singularly 
neat ; it was our old friend Farren. The young ladies 
approached him. 

' You are not going into the church ? ' he inquired, gazing 
at them complacently, yet with a mixture of bashfulness in 
his look : a sentiment not by any means the result of awe 
of their station, but only of appreciation of their elegance 
and youth. Before gentlemen such as Moore or Helstone, 
for instance William was often a little dogged ; with 
proud or insolent ladies, too, he was quite unmanageable, 
sometimes very resentful ; but he was most sensible of, most 
tractable to, good-humour and civility. His nature a 
stubborn one was repelled by inflexibility in other natures ; 
for which reason, he had uever been able to like his former 
master, Moore ; and, unconscious of that gentleman's good 
opinion of himself, and of the service he had secretly 
rendered him in recommending him as gardener to Mr. 


Yorke, and by this means to other families in the neighbour- 
hood, he continued to harbour a grudge against his austerity. 
Latterly, he had often worked at Fieldhead ; Miss Keeldar's 
frank, hospitable manners were perfectly charming to him. 
Caroline he had known from her childhood : unconsciously, 
she was his ideal of a lady. Her gentle mien, step, gestures, 
her grace of person and attire, moved some artist fibres 
about his peasant-heart : he had a pleasure in looking at 
her, as he had in examining rare flowers, or in seeing 
pleasant landscapes. Both the ladies liked William : it was 
their delight to lend him books, to give him plants ; and they 
preferred his conversation far before that of many coarse, 
hard, pretentious people, immeasurably higher in station. 

1 Who was speaking, William, when you came out ? ' 
asked Shirley. 

' A gentleman ye set a deal of store on, Miss Shirley Mr. 

' You look knowing, William. How did you find out my 
regard for Mr. Donne ? ' 

' Ay, Miss Shirley, there's a gleg light i' your een some- 
times which betrays you. You look raight down scornful 
sometimes, when Mr. Donne is by.' 

' Do you like him yourself, William ? ' 

' Me ? I'm stalled o' t' curates, and so is t' wife : they've 
no manners ; they talk to poor folk fair as if they thought 
they were beneath them. They're allus magnifying their 
office : it is a pity but their office could magnify them ; but 
it does nought o' t' soart. I fair hate pride.' 

' But you are proud in your own way yourself,' interposed 
Caroline : ' you are what you call house-proud ; you like to 
have everything handsome about you : sometimes you look 
as if you were almost too proud to take your wages. When 
you were out of work, you were too proud to get anything on 
credit ; but for your children, I believe you would rather 
have starved than gone to the shops without money ; and 
when I wanted to give you something, what a difficulty I 
had in making you take it I ' 


' It is partly true, Miss Caroline : ony day I'd rather give 
than take, especially from sich as ye. Look at t' difference 
between us : ye're a little, young, slender lass, and I'm a 
great strong man : I'm rather more nor twice your age. It 
is not my part then, I think, to tak* fro' ye to be under 
obligations (as they say) to ye ; and that day ye came to our 
house, and called me to t' door, and offered me five shillings, 
which I doubt ye could ill spare, for ye've no fortin', I 
know, that day I war fair a rebel a radical an insurrec- 
tionist ; and ye made me so. I thought it shameful that, 
willing and able as I was to work, I suld be i' such a condi- 
tion that a young cratur about the age o' my own eldest lass 
Buld think it needful to come and offer me her bit o* brass.' 

' I suppose you were angry with me, William ? ' 

' I almost was, in a way ; but I forgave ye varry soon : 
ye meant well. Ay, I am proud, and so are ye ; but your 
pride and mine is t' raight mak' what we call i' Yorkshire, 
clean pride such as Mr. Malone and Mr. Donne knows 
nought about : theirs is mucky pride. Now, I shall teach my 
lasses to be as proud as Miss Shirley there, and my lads to 
be as proud as mysel'n ; but I dare ony o' 'em to be like t' 
curates : I'd lick little Michael, if I seed him show any signs 
o 1 that feeling.' 

1 What is the difference, William ? ' 

' Ye know t' difference weel enow, but ye want me to get 
agate o' talking. Mr. Malone and Mr. Donne is almost too 
proud to do aught for theirsel'n ; ive are almost too proud to 
let anybody do aught for us. T' curates can hardly bide to 
speak a civil word to them they think beneath them ; ice can 
hardly bide to tak' an uncivil word fro' them that thinks 
themsel'n aboon us.' 

' Now, William, be humble enough to tell me truly how 
you are getting on in the world ? Are you well off ? ' 

'Miss Shirley I am varry well off. Since I got into t' 
gardening line, wi' Mr. Yorke's help, and since Mr. Hall 
(another o' t' raight sort) helped my wife to set up a bit of a 
shop, I've nought to complain of. My family has plenty to 


eat and plenty to wear : my pride makes me find means to 
save an odd pound now and then against rainy days ; for I 
think I'd die afore I'd come to t' parish : and me and mine is 
content ; but th' neighbours is poor yet : I see a great deal 
of distress.' 

' And, consequently, there is still discontent, I suppose ? ' 
inquired Miss Keeldar. 

' Consequently ye say right consequently. In course, 
starving folk cannot be satisfied or settled folk. The 
country's not in a safe condition ; I'll say so mich ! ' 

' But what can be done ? What more can I do, for 
instance ? ' 

' Do ? ye can do naught mich, poor young lass ! Ye've 
gi'en your brass : ye've done well. If ye could transport 
your tenant, Mr. Moore, to Botany Bay, ye'd happen do 
better. Folks hate him.' 

' William, for shame ! ' exclaimed Caroline, warmly. ' If 
folks do hate him, it is to their disgrace, not his. Mr. Moore 
himself hates nobody ; he only wants to do his duty, and 
maintain his rights : you are wrong to talk so ! ' 

' I talk as I think. He has a cold, unfeeling heart, youd' 

' But,' interposed Shirley, ' supposing Moore was driven 
from the country, and his mill razed to the ground, would 
people have more work ? ' 

' They'd have less. I know that, and they know that ; 
and there is many an honest lad driven desperate by the 
certainty that whichever way he turns, he cannot better 
himself, and there is dishonest men plenty to guide them to 
thedevil : scoundrels that reckons to be the " people's friends," 
and that knows naught about the people, and is as insincere, 
as Lucifer. I've lived aboon forty year in the world, and I 
believe that " the people " will never have any true friends 
but theirsel'n, and them two or three good folk i' different 
stations, that is friends to all the world. Human natur', 
taking it i' th' lump, is naught but selfishness. It is but 
excessive few ; it is but just an exception here and there, now 


and then, sich as ye two young uns and me, that being in a 
different sphere, can understand t' one t' other, and be 
friends wi'out slavishness o' one hand, or pride o' t' other. 
Them that reckons to be friends to a lower class than their 
own fro' political motives is never to be trusted : they always 
try to make their inferiors tools. For my own part, I will 
neither be patronized nor misled for no man's pleasure. 
I've had overtures made to me lately that I saw were 
treacherous, and I flung 'em back i' the faces o' them that 
offered 'em.' 

' You won't tell us what overtures ? ' 

' I will not : it would do no good ; it would mak' no 
difference : them they concerned can look after theirsel'n.' 

' Ay, we'se look after wersel'n,' said another voice. Joe 
Scott had sauntered forth from the church to get a breath of 
fresh air, and there he stood. 

1 I'll warrant ye, Joe,' observed William, smiling. 

' And I'll warrant my maister,' was the answer. ' Young 
ladies,' continued Joe, assuming a lordly air, 'ye'd better go 
into th' house.' 

' I wonder what for ? ' inquired Shirley, to whom the 
overlooker's somewhat pragmatical manners were familiar, 
and who was often at war with him ; for Joe, holding super- 
cilious theories about women in general, resented greatly, in 
his secret soul, the fact of his master and his master's mill 
being, in a manner, under petticoat government, and had 
felt as wormwood and gall, certain business-visits of the 
heiress to the Hollow's counting-house. 

' Because there is naught agate that fits women to be 
consarned in.' 

' Indeed ! There is prayer and preaching agate in that 
church ; are we not concerned in that ? ' 

' Ye have been present neither at the prayer nor preaching, 
ma'am, if I have observed aright. What I alluded to was 
politics : William Fairen, here, was touching on that subject, 
if I'm not mista'en.' 

' Well, what then ? Politics are our habitual study, Joe. 


Do you know I see a newspaper every day, and two of a 
Sunday ? ' 

' I should think you'll read the marriages, probably, Miss, 
and the murders, and the accidents, and sich like ? ' 

' I read the leading articles, Joe, and the foreign intelli- 
gence, and I look over the market prices : in short, I read 
just what gentlemen read.' 

Joe looked as if he thought this talk was like the chatter- 
ing of a pie. He replied to it by a disdainful silence. 

' Joe,' continued Miss Keeldar, ' I never yet could ascer- 
tain properly, whether you are a Whig or a Tory : pray 
which party has the honour of your alliance ? ' 

' It is rayther difficult to explain where you are sure not 
to be understood,' was Joe's haughty response ; ' but, as to 
being a Tory, I'd as soon be an old woman, or a young one, 
which is a more flimsier article still. It is the Tories that 
carries on the war and ruins trade ; and, if I be of any 
party though political parties is all nonsense I'm of that 
which is most favourable to peace, and, by consequence, to 
the mercantile interests of this here land.' 

1 So am I, Joe,' replied Shirley, who had rather a pleasure 
in teasing the overlooker, by persisting in talking on subjects 
with which he opined she as a woman had no right to 
meddle : ' partly, at least. I have rather a leaning to the 
agricultural interest, too ; as good reason is, seeing that I 
don't desire England to be under the feet of France, and 
that if a share of my income comes from Hollow's mill, a 
larger share comes from the landed estate around it. It 
would not do to take any measures injurious to the farmers, 
Joe, I think ? ' 

' The dews at this hour is unwholesome for females,' 
observed Joe. 

' If you make that remark out of interest in me, I 
have merely to assure you that I am impervious to cold. 
I should not mind taking my turn to watch the mill 
one of these summer nights, armed with your musket, 


Joe Scott's chin was always rather prominent : he poked 
it out, at this speech, some inches farther than usual. 

' But to go back to my sheep,' she proceeded ' clothier 
and mill-owner as I am, besides farmer, I cannot get out of 
my head a certain idea that we manufacturers and persons 
of business are sometimes a little a very little selfish and 
shortsighted in our views, and rather too regardless of human 
suffering, rather heartless in our pursuit of gain : don't you 
agree with me, Joe ? ' 

' I cannot argue, where I cannot be comprehended,' was 
again the answer. 

1 Man of mystery ! Your master will argue with me 
sometimes, Joe . he is not so stiff as you are.' 

' Maybe not . we've all our own ways.' 

' Joe, do you seriously think all the wisdom in the world 
is lodged in male skulls ? ' 

' I think that women are a kittle and a froward genera- 
tion ; and I've a great respect for the doctrines delivered in 
the second chapter of St. Paul's first Epistle to Timothy.' 

' What doctrines, Joe ? ' 

' " Let the woman learn in silence, with all subjection. 
I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over 
the man ; but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, 
then Eve." ' 

' What has that to do with the business ? ' interjected 
Shirley : ' that smacks of rights of primogeniture. I'll bring 
it up to Mr. Yorke the first time he inveighs against those 

' And,' continued Joe Scott, ' Adam was not deceived ; 
but the woman, being deceived, was in the transgression.' 

' More shame to Adam to sin with his eyes open ! ' cried 
Miss Keeldar. ' To confess the honest truth, Joe, I never 
was easy in my mind concerning that chapter : it puzzles me.' 

' It is very plain, Miss : he that runs may read.' 

1 He may read it in his own fashion,' remarked Caroline, 
now joining in the dialogue for the first time. ' You allow 
the right of private judgment, I suppose, Joe ? ' 


1 My certy, that I do ! I allow and claim it for every 
line of the holy Book.' 

' Women may exercise it as well as men ? ' 

' Nay : women is to take their husbands' opinion, both in 
politics and religion : it's wholesomest for them.' 

' Oh ! oh ! ' exclaimed both Shirley and Caroline. 

' To be sure ; no doubt on't,' persisted the stubborn over- 

1 Consider yourself groaned down, and cried shame over, 
for such a stupid observation,' said Miss Keeldar. ' You 
might as well say, men are to take the opinions of their 
priests without examination. Of what value would a 
religion so adopted be ? It would be mere blind, besotted 

' And what is your reading, Miss Helstone, o' these 
words o' St. Paul's ? ' 

' Hem ! I I account for them in this way : he wrote 
that chapter for a particular congregation of Christians, 
under peculiar circumstances ; and besides, I dare say, if I 
could read the original Greek, I should find that many of 
the words have been wrongly translated, perhaps misappre- 
hended altogether. It would be possible, I doubt not, with 
a little ingenuity, to give the passage quite a contrary turn : 
to make it say, " Let the woman speak out whenever she 
sees fit to make an objection ; " " it is permitted to a woman 
to teach and to exercise authority as much as may be. Man, 
meantime, cannot do better than hold his peace," and 
so on.' 

1 That willn't wash, Miss.' 

' I dare say it will. My notions are dyed in faster colours 
than yours, Joe. Mr. Scott, you are a thoroughly dogmatical 
person, and always were : I like William better than you.' 

' Joe is well enough in his own house,' said Shirley : ' I 
have seen him as quiet as a lamb at home. There is not a 
better nor a kinder husband in Briarfield. He does not 
dogmatize to his wife.' 

' My wife is a hard-working, plain woman : time and 


trouble has ta'en all the conceit out of her ; but that is not 
the case with you, young misses. And then you reckon to 
have so much knowledge; and i' my thoughts it's only 
superficial sort o' vanities you're acquainted with. I can 
tell happen a year sin' one day Miss Caroline coming 
into our counting-house when I war packing up summut 
behind t' great desk, and she didn't see me, and she brought 
a slate wi' a sum on it to t' maister : it were only a bit of a 
sum in practice, that our Harry would have settled i' two 
minutes. She couldn't do it ; Mr. Moore had to show her 
how ; and when he did show her, she couldn't understand 

1 Nonsense, Joe ! ' 

' Nay, it's no nonsense : and Miss Shirley, there, reckons 
to hearken to t' maister when he's talking ower trade, so 
attentive like, as if she followed him word for word, and all 
war as clear as a lady's looking-glass to her een ; and all t' 
while she's peeping and peeping out o' t' window to see if 
t' mare stands quiet ; and then looking at a bit of a splash 
on her riding-skirt ; and then glancing glegly round at wer 
counting-house cobwebs and dust, and thinking what mucky 
folk we are, and what a grand ride she'll have just i' now 
ower Nunnely-common. She hears no more o' Mr. Moore's 
talk nor if he spake Hebrew.' 

1 Joe, you are a real slanderer. I would give you your 
answer, only the people are coming out of church : we must 
leave you. Man of prejudice, good-by : William, good-by. 
Children, come up to Fieldhead to-morrow, and you shall 
choose what you like best out of Mrs. Gill's store-room.' 



THE hour was now that of dusk. A clear air favoured the 
kindling of the stars. 

' There will be just light enough to show me the way 
home,' said Miss Keeldar, as she prepared to take leave of 
Caroline at the Eectory garden-door. 

' You must not go alone, Shirley. Fanny shall accom- 
pany you.' 

' That she shall not. Of what need I be afraid in my 
own parish ? I would walk from Fieldhead to the church 
any fine midsummer night, three hours later than this, for 
the mere pleasure of seeing the stars, and the chance of 
meeting a fairy.' 

' But just wait till the crowd is cleared away.' 

' Agreed. There are the five Misses Armitage streaming 
by. Here comes Mrs. Sykes's phaeton, Mr. Wynne's close 
carriage, Mrs. Birtwhistle's car : I don't wish to go through 
the ceremony of bidding them all good -by, so we will step 
into the garden and take shelter amongst the laburnums for 
an instant.' 

The rectors, their curates and their churchwardens, now 
issued from the church-porch. There was a great confabu- 
lation, shaking of hands, congratulation on speeches, recom- 
mendation to be careful of the night air, &c. By degrees 
the throng dispersed ; the carriages drove off. Miss Keeldar 
was just emerging from her flowery refuge, when Mr. 
Helstone entered the garden and met her. 

' Oh ! I want you ! ' he said : ' I was afraid you were 
already gone. Caroline, come here ! ' 


Caroline came, expecting, as Shirley did, a lecture on 
not having been visible at church. Other subjects, how- 
ever, occupied the Eector's mind. 

' I shall not sleep at home to-night/ he continued. ' I 
have just met with an old friend, and promised to accom- 
pany him. I shall return probably about noon to-morrow. 
Thomas, the clerk, is engaged, and I cannot get him to 
sleep in the house, as I usually do when I am absent for a 
night ; now ' 

' Now,' interrupted Shirley, ' you want me as a gentle- 
man the first gentleman in Briarfield, in short, to supply 
your place, be master of the Eectory, and guardian of your 
niece and maids while you are away ? ' 

I Exactly, captain : I thought the post would suit you. 
Will you favour Caroline so far as to be her guest for one 
night ? Will you stay here instead of going back to Field- 

' And what will Mrs. Pryor do ? She expects me home.' 

I 1 will send her word. Come, make up your mind to 
stay. It grows late ; the dew falls heavily : you and Caroline 
will enjoy each other's society, I doubt not.' 

1 1 promise you then to stay with Caroline,' replied 
Shirley. ' As you say, we shall enjoy each other's society : 
we will not be separated to-night. Now, rejoin your old 
friend, and fear nothing for us.' 

' If there should chance to be any disturbance in the 
night, captain if you should hear the picking of a lock, the 
cutting out of a pane of glass, a stealthy tread of steps 
about the house (and I need not fear to tell you, who bear a 
well-tempered, mettlesome heart under your girl's ribbon- 
sash, that such little incidents are very possible in the 
present time), what would you do ? ' 

' Don't know faint, perhaps fall down, and have to be 
picked up again. But, Doctor, if you assign me the post of 
honour, you must give me arms. What weapons are there 
your stronghold ? ' 

' You could not wield a sword ? ' 


' No ; I could manage the carving-knife better.' 

' You will find a good one in the dining-room sideboard : 
a lady's knife, light to handle, and as sharp-pointed as a 

1 It will suit Caroline ; but you must give me a brace of 
pistols ; I know you have pistols.' 

' I have two pairs ; one pair I can place at your disposal. 
You will find them suspended over the mantelpiece of my 
study in cloth cases.' 

1 Loaded ? 

' Yes, but not on the cock. Cock them before you go to 
bed. It is paying you a great compliment, captain, to lend 
you these : were you one of the awkward squad you should 
not have them.' 

' I will take care. You need delay no longer, Mr. 
Helstone : you may go now. He is gracious to me to lend 
me his pistols,' she remarked, as the Eector passed out at 
the garden-gate. ' But come, Lina,' she continued ; ' let us 
go in and have some supper : I was too much vexed at tea 
with the vicinage of Mr. Sam Wynne to be able to eat, and 
now I am really hungry.' 

Entering the house, they repaired to the darkened dining- 
room, through the open windows of which apartment stole 
the evening air, bearing the perfume of flowers from the 
garden, the very distant sound of far-retreating steps from 
the road, and a soft vague murmur, whose origin Caroline 
explained by the remark, uttered as she stood listening at 
the casement : ' Shirley, I hear the beck in the Hollow.' 

Then she rang the bell, asked for a candle and some 
bread and milk Miss Keeldar's usual supper and her own. 
Fanny, when she brought in the tray, would have closed 
the windows and the shutters, but was requested to desist 
for the present : the twilight was too calm, its breath too 
balmy to be yet excluded. They took their meal in silence : 
Caroline rose once, to remove to the window-sill a glass of 
flowers which stood on the sideboard ; the exhalation from 
the blossoms being somewhat too powerful for the sultry 


room : in returning, she half opened a drawer, and took from 
it something that glittered clear and keen in her hand. 

' You assigned this to me, then, Shirley did you ? It is 
bright, keen-edged, finely-tapered : it is dangerous-looking, 
I never yet felt the impulse which could move me to direct 
this against a fellow-creature. It is difficult to fancy what 
circumstances could nerve my arm to strike home with this 
long knife.' 

1 1 should hate to do it,' replied Shirley ; ' but I think I 
could do it, if goaded by certain exigencies which I can 
imagine.' And Miss Keeldar quietly sipped her glass of new 
milk, looking somewhat thoughtful, and a little pale : though, 
indeed, when did she not look pale ? She was never florid. 

The milk sipped and the bread eaten, Fanny was again 
summoned : she and Eliza were recommended to go to bed, 
which they were quite willing to do, being weary of the 
day's exertions, of much cutting of currant-buns, and filling 
of urns and teapots, and running backwards and forwards 
with trays. Ere long the maids' chamber-door was heard to 
close ; Caroline took a candle, and went quietly all over the 
house, seeing that every window was fast, and every door 
barred. She did not even evade the haunted back-kitchen, 
nor the vault-like cellars. These visited, she returned. 

1 There is neither spirit nor flesh in the house at present,' 
she said, which should not be there. It is now near eleven 
o'clock, fully bed-time, yet I would rather sit up a little 
longer, if you do not object, Shirley. Here,' she continued, 
' I have brought the brace of pistols from my uncle's study : 
you may examine them at your leisure." 

She placed them on the table before her friend. 

' Why would you rather sit up longer ? ' asked Miss 
Keeldar, taking up the firearms, examining them, and again 
laying them down. 

' Because I have a strange, excited feeling in my heart.' 

' So have I.' 

1 Is this state of sleeplessness and restlessness caused by 
something electrical in the air, I wonder ? ' 


' No : the aky is clear, the stars numberless : it is a fine 

' But very still. I hear the water fret over its stony bed 
in Hollow's Copse as distinctly as if it ran below the church- 
yard wall.' 

' I am glad it is so still a night : a moaning wind or 
rushing rain would vex me to fever just now.' 

1 Why, Shirley ? ' 

' Because it would baffle my efforts to listen.' 

' Do you listen towards the Hollow ? ' 

' Yes ; it is the only quarter whence we can hear a sound 
just now.' 

' The only one, Shirley.' 

They both sat near the window, and both leaned their 
arms on the sill, and both inclined their heads towards the 
open lattice. They saw each other's young faces by the 
starlight, and that dim June twilight which does not wholly 
fade from the west till dawn begins to break in the east, 

' Mr. Helstone thinks we have no idea which way he is 
gone,' murmured Miss Keeldar, ' nor on what errand, nor 
with what expectations, nor how prepared ; but I guess much 
do not you ? ' 

' I guess something.' 

1 All those gentlemen your cousin Moore included 
think that you and I are now asleep in our beds, uncon* 

' Caring nothing about them hoping and fearing nothing 
for them,' added Cai'oline. 

Both kept silence for full half an hour. The night was 
silent, too ; only the church-clock measured its course by 
quarters. Some words were interchanged about the chill 
of the air ; they wrapped their scarves closer round them, 
resumed their bonnets which they had removed, and again 

Towards midnight the teasing monotonous bark of the 
house-dog disturbed the quietude of their vigil. Caroline 
rose, and made her way noiselessly through the dark pas- 


sages to the kitchen, intending to appease him with a piece 
of bread ; she succeeded. On returning to the dining-room, 
she found it all dark, Miss Keeldar having extinguished the 
candle : the outline of her shape was visible near the still 
open window, leaning out. Miss Helstone asked no ques- 
tions : she stole to her side. The dog recommenced barking 
furiously ; suddenly he stopped, and seemed to listen. The 
occupants of the dining-room listened too, and not merely 
now to the flow of the mill-stream : there was a nearer, 
though a muffled sound on the road below the churchyard ; 
a measured, beating, approaching sound ; a dull tramp of 
marching feet. 

It drew near. Those who listened, by degrees compre- 
hended its extent. It was not the tread of two, nor of a 
dozen, nor of a score of men : it was the tread of hundreds. 
They could see nothing : the high shrubs of the garden 
formed a leafy screen between them and the road. To hear, 
however, was not enough ; and this they felt as the troop 
trod forwards, and seemed actually passing the Rectory. 
They felt it more when a human voice though that voice 
spoke but one word broke the hush of the night. 


A halt followed : the march was arrested. Then came 
a low conference, of which no word was distinguishable from 
the dining-room. 

' We must hear this,' said Shirley. 

She turned, took her pistols from the table, silently passed 
out through the middle window of the dining-room, which 
was, in fact, a glass-door, stole down the walk to the garden- 
wall, and stood listening under the lilacs. Caroline would 
not have quitted the house had she been alone, but where 
Shirley went she would go. She glanced at the weapon on 
the sideboard, but left it behind her, and presently stood at 
her friend's side. They dared not look over the wall, for 
fear of being seen : they were obliged to crouch behind it : 
they heard these words : ' It looks a rambling old building. 
Who lives in it besides the damned parson ? ' 


' Only three women : his niece and two servants.' 

4 Do you know where they sleep ? ' 

' The lasses behind : the niece in a front room.' 

' And Helstone ? ' 

1 Yonder is his chamber. He uses burning a light ; but 
I see none now.' 

' Where would you get in ? ' 

' If I were ordered to do his job and he desarves it I'd 
try yond' long window : it opens to the dining-room : I 
could grope my way up-stairs, and I know his chamber.' 

' How would you manage about the women folk ? ' 

' Let 'em alone, except they shrieked, and then I'd soon 
quieten 'em. I could wish to find the old chap asleep : if he 
waked, he'd be dangerous.' 

1 Has he arms ? ' 

' Fire-arms, allus, and allus leadened.' 

' Then you're a fool to stop us here ; a shot would give 
the alarm : Moore would be on us before we could turn 
round. We should miss our main object.' 

'You might go on, I tell you. I'd engage Helstone 

A pause. One of the party dropped some weapon which 
rang on the stone causeway : at this sound the Eectory dog 
barked again furiously fiercely. 

' That spoils all ! ' said the voice ; ' he'll awake : a noise 
like that might rouse the dead. You did not say that there 
was a dog. Damn you ! Forward ! ' 

Forward they went, tramp, tramp, with mustering, 
manifold, slow-filing tread. They were gone. 

Shirley stood erect ; looked over the wall, along the 

' Not a soul remains,' she said. 

She stood and mused. ' Thank God ! ' was the next 

Caroline repeated the ejaculation, not in so steady a tone : 
she was trembling much ; her heart was beating fast and 
thick : her face was cold ; her forehead damp. 


1 Thank God for us ! ' she reiterated ; ' but what will 
happen elsewhere ? They have passed us by that they may 
make sure of others.' 

1 They have done well,' returned Shirley with composure : 
' the others will defend themselves, they can do it, they 
are prepared for them : with us it is otherwise. My finger 
was on the tiigger of this pistol. I was quite ready to give 
that man, if he had entered, such a greeting as he little 
calculated on ; but behind him followed three hundred : I 
had neither three hundred hands nor three hundred weapons. 
I could not have effectually protected either you, myself, or 
the two poor women asleep under that roof ; therefore I 
again earnestly thank God for insult and peril escaped.' 

After a second pause, she continued : ' What is it my 
duty and wisdom to do next ? Not to stay here inactive, I 
am glad to say, but of course to walk over to the Hollow.' 

' To the Hollow, Shirley ? ' 

' To the Hollow. Will you go with me ? ' 

' Where those men are gone ? ' 

1 They have taken the highway : we should not encounter 
them : the road over the fields is as safe, silent, and solitary 
as a path through the air would be. Will you go ? ' 

1 Yes,' was the answer, given mechanically, not because 
the speaker wished, or was prepared to go ; or, indeed, was 
otherwise than scared at the prospect of going, but because 
she felt she could not abandon Shirley. 

' Then we must fasten up these windows, and leave all 
as secure as we can behind us. Do you know what we are 
going for, Gary ? ' 

' Yes no because you wish it.' 

1 Is that all ? And are you so obedient to a mere caprice 
of mine ? What a docile wife you would make to a stern 
husband ? The moon's face is not whiter than yours at this 
moment ; and the aspen at the gate does not tremble more 
than your busy fingers ; and so tractable and terror-struck, 
and dismayed and devoted, you would follow me into the 
thick of real danger ! Gary, let me give your fidelity a 


motive : we are going for Moore's sake ; to see if we can be 
of use to him : to make an effort to warn him of what is 

' To be sure ! I am a blind, weak fool, and you are acute 
and sensible, Shirley ! I will go with you ! I will gladly go 
with you ! ' 

' I do not doubt it. You would die blindly and meekly 
for me, but you would intelligently and gladly die for Moore : 
but in truth there is no question of death to-night, we run 
no risk at all.' 

Caroline rapidly closed shutter and lattice. ' Do not fear 
that I shall not have breath to run as fast as you can pos- 
sibly run, Shirley. Take my hand : let us go straight across 
the fields.' 

' But you cannot climb walls ? ' 

' To-night I can.' 

' You are afraid of hedges, and the beck which we shall 
be forced to cross ? ' 

' I can cross it.' 

They started : they ran. Many a wall checked but did 
not baffle them. Shirley was surefooted and agile : she 
could spring like a deer when she chose. Caroline, more 
timid, and less dexterous, fell once or twice, and bruised 
herself; but she rose again directly, saying she was not 
hurt. A quickset hedge bounded the last field : they lost 
time in seeking a gap in it : the aperture, when found, was 
narrow, but they worked their way through : the long hair, 
the tender skin, the silks and the muslins suffered ; but what 
was chiefly regretted was the impediment this difficulty had 
caused to speed. On the other side they met the beck, flow- 
ing deep in a rough bed : at this point a narrow plank formed 
the only bridge across it. Shirley had trodden the plank 
successfully and fearlessly many a time before : Caroline 
had never yet dared to risk the transit. 

' J will carry you across,' said Miss Keeldar : ' you are 
light, and I am not weak : let me try." 

' If I fall in, you may fish me out,' was the answer, as a 


grateful squeeze compressed her hand. Caroline, without 
pausing, trod forward on the trembling plank as if it were 
a continuation of the firm turf : Shirley, who followed, did 
not cross it more resolutely or safely. In their present 
humour, on their present errand, a strong and foaming 
channel would have been a barrier to neither. At the 
moment they were above the control either of fire or water : 
all Stilbro' Moor, alight and aglow with bonfires, would not 
have stopped them, nor would Calder or Aire thundering in 
flood. Yet one sound made them pause. Scarce had they 
set foot on the solid opposite bank, when a shot spHt the air 
from the north. One second elapsed. Further off, burst a 
like note in the south. Within the space of three minutes, 
similar signals boomed in the east and west. 

' I thought we were dead at the first explosion,' observed 
Shirley, drawing a long breath. ' I felt myself hit in the 
temples, and I concluded your heart was pierced ; but the 
reiterated voice was an explanation : those are signals it is 
their way the attack must be near. We should have had 
wings : our feet have not borne us swiftly enough.' 

A portion of the copse was now to clear : when they 
emerged from it, the mill lay just below them : they could 
look down upon the buildings, the yard ; they could see the 
road beyond. And the first glance in that direction told 
Shirley she was right in her conjecture : they were already 
too late to give warning : it had taken more time than they 
calculated on to overcome the various obstacles which 
embarrassed the short cut across the fields. 

The road, which should have been white, was dark with 
a moving mass : the rioters were assembled in front of the 
closed yard gates, and a single figure stood within, appa- 
rently addressing them : the mill itself was perfectly black 
and still ; there was neither life, light, nor motion around it. 

' Surely he is prepared : surely that is not Moore meeting 
them alone ? ' whispered Shirley. 

' It is we must go to him ! I will go to him.' 

' That you will not.' 


' Why did I come, then ? I came only for him. I shall 
join him.' 

' Fortunately, it is out of your power : there is no entrance 
to the yard.' 

' There is a small entrance at the back, besides the gates 
in front : it opens by a secret method which I know I will 
try it.' 

' Not with my leave.' 

Miss Keeldar clasped her round the waist with both arms 
and held her back. 

' Not one step shall you stir,' she went on authoritatively. 
' At this moment, Moore would be both shocked and embar- 
rassed, if he saw either you or me. Men never want women 
near them in time of real danger.' 

' I would not trouble I would help him,' was the reply. 

' How ? By inspiring him with heroism? Pooh ! These 
are not the days of chivalry : it is not a tilt at a tournament 
we are going to behold, but a struggle about money, and 
food, and life.' 

1 It is natural that I should be at his side." 

1 As queen of his heart ? His mill is his lady-love, Gary ! 
Backed by his factory and his frames, he has all the 
encouragement he wants or can know. It is not for love or 
beauty, but for ledger and broadcloth, he is going to break a 
spear. Don't be sentimental ; Robert is not so.' 

' I could help him I will seek him.' 

' Off then I let you go seek Moore : you'll not find 

She loosened her hold. Caroline sped like levelled shaft 
from bent bow ; after her rang a jesting, gibing laugh. 

' Look well there is no mistake ! ' was the warning 

But there was a mistake. Miss Helstone paused, hesi- 
tated, gazed. The figure had suddenly retreated from the 
gate, and was running back hastily to the mill. 

' Make haste, Lina ! ' cried Shirley : ' meet him before he 


Caroline slowly returned. 

1 It is not Eobert,' she said : ' it has neither his height, 
form, nor bearing.' 

' I saw it was not Robei't when I let you go. How could 
you imagine it ? It is a shabby little figure of a private 
soldier : they had posted him as sentinel. He is safe in the 
mill now : I saw the door open and admit him. My mind 
grows easier : Robert is prepared ; our warning would have 
been superfluous, and now I am thankful we came too late 
to give it : it has saved us the trouble of a scene. How fine 
to have entered the counting-house " toute 6perdue," and to 
have found oneself in presence of Messrs. Armitage and 
Ramsden smoking, Malone swaggering, your uncle sneering, 
Mr. Sykes sipping a cordial, and Moore himself in his cold 
man-of -business vein : I am glad we missed it all.' 

' I wonder if there are many in the mill, Shirley ! ' 

' Plenty to defend it. The soldiers we have twice seen 
to-day were going there, no doubt, and the group we noticed 
surrounding your cousin in the fields will be with him.' 

' What are they doing now, Shirley ? What is that 
noise ? ' 

' Hatchets and crow-bars against the yard-gates : they 
are forcing them. Are you afraid ? ' 

4 No ; but my heart throbs fast ; I have a difficulty in 
standing : I will sit down. Do you feel unmoved ? ' 

' Hardly that but I am glad I came : we shall see what 
transpires with our own eyes : we are here on the spot, and 
none know it. Instead of amazing the curate, the clothier, 
and the corndealer with a romantic rush on the stage, we 
stand alone with the friendly night, its mute stars, and these 
whispering trees, whose report our friends will not come to 

' Shirley Shirley, the gates are down ! That crash was 
like the felling of great trees. Now they are pouring 
through. They will break down the mill-doors as they have 
broken the gate : what can Robert do against so many ? 
Would to God I were a little nearer him could hear him 


speak could speak to him ! With my will my longing to 
serve him I could not be a useless burden in his way : I 
could be turned to some account.' 

1 They come on ! ' cried Shirley. ' How steadily they 
march in ! There is discipline in their ranks I will not say 
there is courage : hundreds against tens are no proof of that 
quality ; but ' (she dropped her voice) ' there is suffering and 
desperation enough amongst them these goads will urge 
them forwards.' 

1 Forwards against Robert and they hate him. Shirley, 
is there much danger they will win the day ? ' 

' We shall see. Moore and Helstone are of " earth's first 
blood " no bunglers no cravens ' 

A crash smash shiver stopped their whispers. A 
simultaneously-hurled volley of stones had saluted the broad 
front of the mill, with all its windows ; and now every pane 
of every lattice lay in shattered and pounded fragments. A 
yell followed this demonstration a rioters' yell a North- 
of-England a Yorkshire a West Riding a West-Riding- 
clothing-district-of-Yorkshire rioters' yell. You never heard 
that sound, perhaps, reader ? So much the better for your 
ears perhaps for your heart ; since, if it rends the air in 
hate to yourself, or to the men or principles you approve, 
the interests to which you wish well, Wrath wakens to the 
cry of Hate : the Lion shakes his mane, and rises to the 
howl of the Hyena : Caste stands up, ireful, against Caste ; 
and the indignant, wronged spirit of the Middle Rank bears 
down in zeal and scorn on the famished and furious mass of 
the Operative Class. It is difficult to be tolerant difficult 
to be just in such moments. 

Caroline rose ; Shirley put her arm round her : they 
stood together as still as the straight stems of two trees. 
That yell was a long one, and when it ceased, the night was 
yet full of the swaying and murmuring of a crowd. 

' What next ? ' was the question of the listeners. Nothing 
came yet. The mill remained mule as a mausoleum. 

' He cannot be alone ! ' whispered Caroline. 


' I would stake all I have, that he is as little alone as he 
is alarmed,' responded Shirley. 

Shots were discharged by the rioters. Had the defenders 
waited for this signal ? It seemed so. The hitherto inert 
and passive mill woke : fire flashed from its empty window- 
frames ; a volley of musketry pealed sharp through the 

' Moore speaks at last ! ' said Shirley, ' and he seems to 
have the gift of tongues ; that was not a single voice.' 

' He has been fovbeaiing ; no one can accuse him of rash- 
ness,' alleged Caroline : ' their discharge preceded his ; they 
broke his gates and his windows ; they fired at his garrison 
before he repelled them.' 

What was going on now ? It seemed difficult, in the 
darkness, to distinguish, but something terrible, a still-renew- 
ing tumult, was obvious ; fierce attacks, desperate repulses ; 
the mill-yard, the mill itself, was full of battle-movement : 
there was scarcely any cessation now of the discharge of 
firearms ; and there was struggling, rushing, trampling, and 
shouting between. The aim of the assailants seemed to be 
to enter tho mill, that of the defendants to beat them off. 
They heard the rebel leader cry, ' To the back, lads ! ' They 
heard a voice retort, ' Come round, we will meet you ! ' 

' To the counting-house ! ' was the order again. 

' Welcome ! We shall have you there ! ' was the 
response. And accordingly, the fiercest blaze that had jet 
glowed, the loudest rattle that had yet been heard, burst 
from the counting-house front, when the mass of rioters 
rushed up to it. 

The voice that had spoken was Moore's own voice. They 
could tell by its tones that his soul was now warm with the 
conflict : they could guess that the fighting animal was 
roused in every one of those men there struggling together, 
and was for the time quite paramount above the rational 
human being. 

Both the girls felt their faces glow and their pulses throb : 
both knew they would do no good by rushing down into the 


m6lec : they desired neither to deal nor to receive blows ; but 
they could not have run away Caroline no more than 
Shirley ; they could not have fainted ; they could not have 
taken their eyes from the dim, terrible scene from the mass 
of cloud, of smoke the musket-lightning for the world. 

' How and when would it end ? ' was the demand throb- 
bing in their throbbing pulses. ' Would a juncture arise in 
which they could be useful ? ' was what they waited to see ; 
for, though Shirley put off their too-late arrival with a jest, 
and was ever ready to satirize her own or any other person's 
enthusiasm, she would have given a farm of her best land 
for a chance of rendering good service. 

The chance was not vouchsafed her ; the looked-for 
juncture never came : it was not likely. Moore had expected 
this attack for days, perhaps weeks : he was prepared for it 
at every point. He had fortified and garrisoned his mill, 
which in itself was a strong building : he was a cool, brave 
man : he stood to the defence with unflinching firmness ; 
those who were with him caught his spirit, and copied his 
demeanour. The rioters had never been so met before. At 
other mills they had attacked, they had found no resistance ; 
an organised, resolute defence was what they never dreamed 
of encountering. When their leaders saw the steady fire 
kept up from the mill, witnessed the composure and deter- 
mination of its owner, heard themselves coolly defied and 
invited on to death, and beheld their men falling wounded 
round them, they felt that nothing was to be done here. In 
haste, they mustered their forces, drew them away from the 
building : a roll was called over, in which the men answered 
to figures instead of names : they dispersed wide over the 
fields, leaving silence and ruin behind them. The attack, 
from its commencement to its termination, had not occupied 
an hour. 

Day was by this time approaching : the west was dim, 
the east beginning to gleam. It would have seemed that the 
girls who had watched this conflict would now wish to hasten 
to the victors, on whose side all their interest had been 


enlisted ; but they only very cautiously approached the now 
battered mill, and, when suddenly a number of soldiers and 
gentlemen appeared at the great door opening into the yard, 
they quickly stepped aside into a shed, the deposit of old 
iron and timber, whence they could see without being seen. 

It was no cheering spectacle : these premises were now 
a mere blot of desolation on the fresh front of the summer- 
dawn. All the copse up the Hollow was shady and dewy 
the hill at its head was green ; but just here in the centre of 
the sweet glen, Discord, broken loose in the night from 
control, had beaten the ground with his stamping hoofs, and 
left it waste and pulverised. The mill yawned all ruinous 
with unglazed frames ; the yard was thickly bestrewn with 
stones and brickbats, and, close under the mill, with the 
glittering fragments of the shattered windows ; muskets and 
other weapons lay here and there ; more than one deep 
crimson stain was visible on the gravel ; a human body lay 
quiet on its face near the gates ; and five or six wounded 
men writhed and moaned in the bloody dust. 

Miss Keeldar's countenance changed at this view : it was 
the aftertaste of the battle, death and pain replacing excite- 
ment and exertion : it was the blackness the bright fire 
leaves when its blaze is sunk, its warmth failed, and its 
glow faded. 

1 This is what I wished to prevent/ she said, in a voice 
whose cadence betrayed the altered impulse of her heart. 

' But you could not prevent it ; you did your best ; it was 
in vain,' said Caroline, comfortingly. ' Don't grieve, Shirley.' 

' I am sorry for those poor fellows,' was the answer, 
while the spark in her glance dissolved to dew. ' Are any 
within the mill hurt, I wonder ? Is that your uncle ? ' 

' It is, and there is Mr. Malone, and oh, Shirley ! there 
is Robert ! ' 

1 Well ' (resuming her former tone), ' don't squeeze your 
fingers quite into my hand : I see, there is nothing wonderful 
in that. We knew he, at least, was here, whoever might be 


' He is coming here towards us, Shirley ! ' 

' Towards the purnp, that is to say, for the purpose of 
washing his hands and his forehead, which has got a scratch, 
I perceive.' 

' He bleeds, Shirley : don't hold me ; I must go.' 

' Not a step.' 

1 He is hurt, Shirley ! ' 

' Fiddlestick ! ' 

' But I must go to him : I wish to go so much : I cannot 
bear to be restrained.' 

1 What for ? ' 

' To speak to him, to ask how he is, and what I can do 
for him ? ' 

' To tease and annoy him ; to make a spectacle of your- 
self and him before those soldiers, Mr. Malone, your uncle, 
et cetera. Would he like it, think you ? Would you like 
to remember it a week hence ? ' 

' Am I always to be curbed and kept down ? ' demanded 
Caroline, a little passionately. 

' For his sake, yes. And still more for your own. I tell 
you, if you showed yourself now, you would repent it an 
hour hence, and so would Robert.' 

' You think he would not like it, Shirley ? ' 

' Far less than he would like our stopping him to say 
good-night, which you were so sore about.' 

' But that was all play ; there was no danger.' 

' And this is serious work : he must be unmolested.' 

' I only wish to go to him because he is my cousin you 
understand ? ' 

' I quite understand. But now, watch him. He has 
bathed his forehead, and the blood has ceased trickling : his 
hurt is really a mere graze : I can see it from hence : he is 
going to look after the wounded men.' 

Accordingly Mr. Moore and Mr. Helstone went round the 
yard, examining each prostrate form. They then gave 
directions to have the wounded taken up and carried into 
the mill. This duty being performed, Joe Scott was ordered 


to saddle his master's horse, and Mr. Ht Istone's pony, and 
the two gentlemen rode away full gallop, to seek surgical 
aid in different directions. 

Caroline was not yet pacified. 

' Shirley, Shirley, I should have liked to speak one word 
to him before he went,' she murmured, while the tears 
gathered glittering in her eyes. 

1 Why do you cry, Lina ? ' asked Miss Keeldar a little 
sternly. ' You ought to be glad instead of sorry. Robert 
has escaped any serious harm ; he is victorious ; he has been 
cool and brave in combat ; he is now considerate in triumph : 
is this a time are these causes for weeping ? ' 

'You do not know what I have in my heart,' pleaded the 
other : ' what pain, what distraction ; nor whence it arises. 
I can understand that you should exult in Robert's greatness 
and goodness ; so do I, in one sense, but, in another, I feel 
so miserable. I am too far removed from him : I used to be 
nearer. Let me alone, Shirley : do let me cry a few minutes ; 
it relieves me.' 

Miss Keeldar, feeling her tremble in every limb, ceased 
to expostulate with her : she went out of the shed, and left 
her to weep in peace. It was the best plan : in a few 
minutes Caroline rejoined her, much calmer : she said with 
her natural, docile, gentle manner ' Come, Shirley, we will 
go home now. I promise not to try to see Robert again till 
he asks for me. I never will try to push myself on him. I 
thank you for restraining me just now.' 

' I did it with a good intention,' returned Miss Keeldar. 
' Now, dear Lina,' she continued ; ' let us turn our faces to 
the cool morning breeze, and walk very quietly back to the 
Rectory. We will steal in as we stole out : none shall know 
where we have been, or what we have seen to-night : neither 
taunt nor misconstruction can consequently molest us. To- 
morrow we will see Robert, and be of good cheer ; but I will 
say no more, lest I should begin to cry too. I seem hard 
towards you, but I am uot so.' 



THE two girls met no living soul on their way back to the 
Rectory ; they let themselves in noiselessly ; they stole up- 
stairs unheard : the breaking morning gave them what light 
they needed. Shirley sought her couch immediately ; and, 
though the room was strange for she had never slept at the 
Rectory before and though the recent scene was one un- 
paralleled for excitement and terror by any it had hitherto 
been her lot to witness, yet, scarce was her head laid on the 
pillow, ere a deep, refreshing sleep closed her eyes, and 
calmed her senses. 

Perfect health was Shirley's enviable portion ; though 
warm-hearted and sympathetic, she was not nervous : power- 
ful emotions could rouse and sway, without exhausting, her 
spirit : the tempest troubled and shook her while it lasted ; 
but it left her elasticity unbent, and her freshness quite 
unblighted. As every day brought her stimulating emotion, 
so every night yielded her recreating rest. Caroline now 
watched her sleeping, and read the serenity of her mind in 
the beauty of her happy countenance. 

For herself, being of a different temperament, she could 
not sleep. The common-place excitement of the tea-drinking 
and school-gathering, would alone have sufficed to make her 
restless all night : the effect of the terrible drama which had 
ust been enacted before her eyes was not likely to quit her 
for days. It was vain even to try to retain a recumbent 
posture : she sat up by Shirley's side, counting the slow 
uiinutes, and watching the June sun mount the heavens. 


Life wastes fast in such vigils as Caroline had of late but 
too often kept ; vigils during which the mind having no 
pleasant food to nourish it no manna of hope no hivecl- 
honcy of joyous memories tries to live on the meagre diet 
of wishes, and failing to derive thence either delight or sup- 
port, and feeling itself ready to perish with craving want, 
turns to philosophy, to resolution, to resignation ; calls on 
all these gods for aid, calls vainly is unheard, unhelped, 
and languishes. 

Caroline was a Christian ; therefore in trouble she framed 
many a prayer after the Christian creed ; preferred it with 
deep earnestness ; begged for patience, strength, relief. This 
world, however, we all know, is the scene of trial and pro- 
bation ; and, for any favourable result her petitions had yet 
wrought, it seemed to her that they were unheard and 
unaccepted. She believed, sometimes, that God had turned 
His face from her. At moments she was a Calvinist, and, 
sinking into the gulf of religious despair, she saw darkening 
over her the doom of reprobation. 

Most people have had a period or periods in their lives 
when they have felt thus forsaken ; when, having long hoped 
against hope, and still seen the day of fruition deferred, their 
hearts have truly sickened within them. This is a terrible 
hour, but it is often that darkest point which precedes the 
rise of day ; that turn of the year when the icy January 
wind carries over the waste at once the dirge of departing 
winter, and the prophecy of coming spring. The perishing 
birds, however, cannot thus understand the blast before 
which they shiver ; and as little can the suffering soul 
recognise, in the climax of its affliction, the dawn of its 
deliverance. Yet let whoever grieves still cling fast to love 
and faith in God : God will never deceive, never finally 
desert him. ' Whom He loveth, He chasteneth.' These 
words are true, and should not be forgotten. 

The household was astir at last : the servants were up ; 
the shutters were opened below. Caroline, as she quitted 
the couch, which had been but a thorny one to her, felt that 


revival of spirits which the return of day, of action, gives to 
all but the wholly despairing or actually dying : she dressed 
herself, as usual, carefully, trying so to arrange her hair and 
attire that nothing of the forlornness she felt at heart should 
be visible externally : she looked as fresh as Shirley when 
both were dressed, only that Miss Keeldar's eyes were lively, 
and Miss Helstone's languid. 

' To-day, I shall have much to say to Moore,' were 
Shirley's first words : and you could see in her face that life 
was full of interest, expectation, and occupation for her. 
' He will have to undergo cross-examination,' she added : ' I 
daresay he thinks he has outwitted me cleverly. And this is 
the way men deal with women : still concealing danger from 
them : thinking, I suppose, to spare them pain. They 
imagined we little knew where they were to-night ; we know 
they little conjectured where we were. Men, I believe, fancy 
women's minds something like those of children. Now, that 
is a mistake.' 

This was said as she stood at the glass, training her 
naturally waved hair into curls, by twining it round her 
fingers. She took up the theme again five minutes after, as 
Caroline fastened her dress and clasped her girdle. 

' If men could see us as we really are, they would be a 
little amazed ; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often 
under an illusion about women : they do not read them in a 
true light : they misapprehend them, both for good and evil : 
their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel ; their 
bad woman almost always a fiend. Then to hear them fall 
into ecstasies with each other's creations, worshipping the 
heroine of such a poem novel drama, thinking it fine 
divine ! Fine and divine ib may be, but often quite artificial 
false as the rose in my best bonnet there. If I spoke 
all I think on this point ; if I gave my real opinion of some 
first-rate female characters in first-rate works, where should 
I be? Dead under a cairn of avenging stones in half-au- 

1 Shirley, you chatter so, I can't fasten you : be still. 


And after all, author's heroines are almost as good as 
authoress's heroes.' 

4 Not at all : women read men more truly than men read 
women. I'll prove that in a magazine paper some day when 
I've time ; only it will never be inserted : it will be " de- 
clined with thanks," and left for me at the publisher's.' 

' To be sure : you could not write cleverly enough ; you 
don't know enough ; you are not learned, Shirley.' 

' God knows, I can't contradict you, Gary : I'm as 
ignorant as a stone. There's one comfort, however, you are 
not much better.' 

They descended to breakfast. 

' I wonder how Mrs. Pryor and Hortense Moore have 
passed the night,' said Caroline, as she made the coffee. 
' Selfish being that I am ! I never thought of either of them 
till just now : they will have heard all the tumult, Pieldhead 
and the cottage are so near ; and Hortense is timid in such 
matters : so no doubt is Mrs. Pryor.' 

' Take my word for it, Lina, Moore will have contrived to 
get his sister out of the way : she went home with Miss 
Mann ; he will have quartered her there for the night. As 
to Mrs. Pryor, I own I am uneasy about her ; but in another 
half-hour we will be with her.' 

By this time the news of what had happened at the 
Hollow was spread all over the neighbourhood. Fanny, 
who had been to Fieldhead to fetch the milk, returned in 
panting haste, with tidings that there had been a battle in 
the night at Mr. Moore's mill, and that some said twenty 
men were killed. Eliza, during Fanny's absence, had been 
apprised by the butcher's boy that the Mill was burnt to the 
ground. Both women rushed into the parlour to announce 
these terrible facts to the ladies, terminating their clear and 
accurate narrative by the assertion that they were sure 
master must have been in it all : lie and Thomas, the clerk, 
they were confident, must have gone last night to join Mr 
Moore and the soldiers : Mr. Malone, too, had not been 
heard of at his lodgings since yesterday afternoon ; and Joe 


Scott's wife and family were in the greatest distress, 
wondering what had become of their head. 

Scarcely was this information imparted when a knock at 
the kitchen-door announced the Fieldhead errand-boy, 
arrived in hot haste, bearing a billet from Mrs. Pryor. It 
was hurriedly written, and urged Miss Keeldar to return 
directly, as the neighbourhood and the house seemed likely 
to be all in confusion, and orders would have to be given 
which the mistress of the hall alone could regulate. In a 
postscript it was entreated that Miss Helstone might not be 
left alone at the Eectory : she had better, it was suggested > 
accompany Miss Keeldar. 

' There are not two opinions on that head,' said Shirley, 
as she tied on her own bonnet, and then ran to fetch 

' But what will Fanny and Eliza do ? And if my uncle 
returns ? ' 

1 Your uncle will not return yet ; he has other fish to fry ; 
he will be galloping backwards and forwards from Briar- 
field to Stilbro' all day, rousing the magistrates in the court- 
house, and the officers at the barracks ; and Fanny and 
Eliza can have in Joe Scott's and the clerk's wives to bear 
them company. Besides, of course, there is no real danger 
to be apprehended now : weeks will elapse before the rioters 
can again rally, or plan any other attempt ; and I am much 
mistaken if Moore and Mr. Helstone will not take advantage 
of last night's outbreak to quell them altogether : they will 
fi'ighten the authorities of Stilbro' into energetic measures. 
I only hope they will not be too severe not pursue the 
discomfited too relentlessly.' 

1 Robert will not be cruel ; we saw that last night,' said 

' But he will be hard,' retorted Shirley ; ' and so will your 

As they hurried along the meadow and plantation -path 
to Fieldhead, they saw the distant highway already alive 
with an unwonted flow of equestrians arid pedestrians, 


tending in the direction of the usually solitary Hollow. On 
reaching the hall, they found the backyard gates open, and 
the court and kitchen seemed crowded with excited milk- 
f etchers men, women, and children, whom Mrs. Gill, the 
housekeeper, appeared vainly persuading to take their milk- 
cans and depart. (It is, or was, by-the-by, the custom in the 
north of England for the cottagers on a country squire's 
estate to receive their supplies of milk and butter from the 
dairy of the Manor-House, on whose pastures a herd of 
milch-kine was usually fed for the convenience of the neigh- 
bourhood. Miss Keeldar owned such a herd all deep- 
dewlapped, Craven cows, reared on the sweet herbage and 
clear waters of bonnie Airedale ; and very proud she was of 
their sleek aspect and high condition.) Seeing now the state 
of matters, and that it was desirable to effect a clearance oi 
the premises, Shirley stepped in amongst the gossiping 
groups. She bade them good-morning with a certain frank, 
tranquil ease the natural characteristic of her manner when 
she addressed numbers ; especially if those numbers belonged 
to the working-class : she was cooler amongst her equals, 
and rather proud to those above her. She then asked them 
if they had all got their milk measured out, and understand- 
ing that they had, she further observed that she ' wondered 
what they were waiting for, then.' 

' We're just talking a bit over this battle there has been 
at your mill, Mistress,' replied a man. 

' Talking a bit ! Just like you ! ' said Shirley. ' It is a 
queer thing all the world is so fond of talking over events : 
you talk if anybody dies suddenly ; you talk if a fire breaks 
out ; you talk if a mill-owner fails ; you talk if he's 
murdered. What good does your talking do ? ' 

There is nothing the lower orders like better than a little 
downright good-humoured rating. Flattery they scorn very 
much : honest abuse they enjoy. They call it speaking 
plainly, and take a sincere delight in being the objects thereof. 
The homely harshness of Miss Keeldar's salutation won her 
the ear of the whole throng in a second. 


' We're no war nor some 'at is aboon us ; are we ? ' asked 
a man, smiling. 

' Nor a whit better : you that should be models of industry 
are just as gossip-loving as the idle. Fine, rich people that 
have nothing to do, may be partly excused for trifling their 
time away : you who have to earn your bread with the 
sweat of your brow are quite inexcusable.' 

' That's queer, Mistress : suld we never have a holiday 
because we work hard ? ' 

' Never,' was the prompt answer ; ' unless,' added the 
' mistress ' with a smile that half-belied the severity of her 
speech ' unless you knew how to make a better use of it 
than to get together over rum and tea, if you are women or 
over beer and pipes, if you are men, and talk scandal at your 
neighbour's expense. Come, friends,' she added, changing 
at once from bluntness to courtesy, ' oblige me by taking 
your cans and going home. I expect several persons to call 
to-day, and it will bs inconvenient to have the avenues to 
the house crowded.' 

Yorkshire people are as yielding to persuasion as they 
are stubborn against compulsion : the yard was clear in five 

' Thank you, and good -by to you, friends,' said Shirley, 
as she closed the gates on a quiet court. 

Now, let me hear the most refined of Cockneys presume 
to find fault with Yorkshire manners ! Taken as they ought 
to be, the majority of the lads and lasses of the West-Biding 
are gentlemen and ladies, every inch of them : it is only 
against the weak affectation and futile pomposity of a would- 
be aristocrat they turn mutinous. 

Entering by the back-way, the young ladies passed 
through the kitchen (or house, as the inner kitchen is called) 
to the hall. Mrs. Pryor came running down the oak stair- 
case to meet them. She was all unnerved : her naturally 
sanguino complexion was pale ; her usually placid, though 
timid, blue eye was wandering, unsettled, alarmed. She did 
nob, however, break out into any exclamations, or hurried 


narrative of what had happened. Her predominant feeling 
had been in the course of the night, and was now this 
morning, a sense of dissatisfaction with herself that she 
could not feel firmer, cooler, more equal to the demands of 
the occasion. 

' You are aware,' she began with a trembling voice, and 
yet the most conscientious anxiety to avoid exaggeration in 
what she was about to say, 'that a body of rioters has 
attacked Mr. Moore's mill to-night : we heard the firing and 
confusion very plainly here : we none of us slept : it was a 
sad night : the house has been in great bustle all the morning 
with people coming and going : the servants have applied to 
me for orders and directions, which I really did not feel 
warranted in giving. Mr. Moore has, I believe, sent up for 
refreshments for the soldiers and others engaged in the 
defence ; for some conveniences also for the wounded. I 
could not undertake the responsibility of giving orders or 
taking measures. I fear delay may have been injurious in 
some instances ; but this is not my house : you were absent, 
my dear Miss Keeldar what could I do ? ' 

' Were no refreshments sent ? ' asked Shirley, while her 
countenance, hitherto so clear, propitious, and quiet, even 
while she was rating the milk-fetchers, suddenly turned dark 
and warm. 

' I think not, my dear.' 

' And nothing for the wounded ? no linen no wine no 
bedding ? ' 

' I think not. I cannot tell what Mrs. Gill did : but it 
seemed impossible to me, at the moment, to venture to 
dispose of your property by sending supplies to soldiers 
provisions for a company of soldiers sounds formidable : how 
many there are I did not ask ; but I could not think of 
allowing them to pillage the house as it were. I intended to 
do what was right ; yet I did not see the case quite clearly, 
I own.' 

' It lies in a nutshell, notwithstanding. These soldiers 
have risked their lives in defence of my property I suppose 


they have a right to my gratitude: the wounded are our 
fellow-creatures I suppose we should aid them. Mrs. 
Gill ! ' 

She turned, and called in a voice more clear than soft. 
It rang through the thick oak of the hall and kitchen doors 
more effectually than a bell's summons. Mr s. Gill, who was 
deep in bread-making, came with hands and apron in 
culinary case, not having dared to stop to rub the dough 
from the one, or to shake the flour from the other. Her 
mistress had never called a servant in that voice, save once 
before, and that was when she had seen from the window 
Tartar in full tug with two carriers' dogs, each of them a 
match for him in size, if not in courage, and their masters 
standing by, encouraging their animals, while hers was 
unbefriended : then, indeed, she had summoned John as if 
the Day of Judgment were at hand : nor had she waited for 
the said John's coming, but had walked out into the lane 
bonnetless ; and after informing the carriers that she held 
them far less of men than the three brutes whirling and 
worrying in the dust before them, had put her hands round 
the thick neck of the largest of the curs and given her whole 
strength to the essay of choking it from Tartar's torn and 
bleeding eye, just above and below which organ the vengeful 
fangs were inserted. Five or six men were presently on the 
spot to help her, but she never thanked one of them : ' They 
might have come before, if their will had been good,' she 
said. She had not a word for anybody during the rest of 
the day ; but sat near the hall fire till evening, watching and 
tending Tartar, who lay all gory, stiff, and swelled, on a mat 
at her feet. She wept furtively over him sometimes, and 
murmured the softest words of pity and endearment, in tones 
whose music the old, scarred, canine warrior acknowledged 
by licking her hand or her sandal alternately with his own 
red wounds. As to John, his lady turned a cold shoulder 
on him for a week afterwards. 

Mrs. Gill, remembering this little episode, came ' all of a 
tremble,' as she said herself. In a firm, brief voice, Miss 

TO-MOKfcOW 367 

Keeldar proceeded to put questions and give orders. That 
at such a time Fieldhead should have evinced the inhospitality 
of a miser's hovel, stung her haughty spirit to the quick ; 
and the revolt of its pride was seen in the heaving of her 
heart ; stirred stormily under the lace and silk which 
veiled it. 

' How long is it since that message came from the 
mill ? ' 

' Not an hour yet, ma'am,' answered the housekeeper, 

' Not an hour ! You might almost as well have said not 
a day. They will have applied elsewhere by this time. Send 
a man instantly down to tell them that everything this house 
contains is at Mr. Moore's, Mr. Helstone's, and the soldiers' 
service. Do that first ! ' 

While the order was being executed, Shirley moved away 
from her friends, and stood at the hall-window, silent, un- 
approachable. When Mrs. Gill came back, she turned : the 
purple flush which painful excitement kindles on a pale 
cheek, glowed on hers : the spark which displeasure lights 
in a dark eye fired her glance. 

' Let the contents of the larder and the wine-cellar be 
brought up, put into the hay-carts, and driven down to tho 
Hollow. If there does not happen to be much bread or 
much meat in the house, go to the butcher and baker, and 
desire them to send what they have : but I will see for 

She moved off. 

' All will be right soon : she will get over it in an hour,' 
whispered Caroline to Mrs. Pryor. ' Go up-stairs, dear 
madam,' she added, affectionately, ' and try to be as calm 
and easy as you can. The truth is, Shirley will blame her- 
self more than you before the day is over.' 

By dint of a few more gentle assurances and persuasions, 
Miss Helstone contrived to soothe the agitated lady. Having 
accompanied her to her apartment, and promised to rejoin 
her there when things were settled, Caroline left her to see, 


as she said, ' if she could be useful.' She presently found 
that she could be very useful ; for the retinue of servants at 
Fieldhead was by no means numerous, and just now their 
mistress found plenty of occupation for all the hands at her 
command, and for her own also. The delicate good-nature 
and dexterous activity which Caroline brought to the aid of 
the housekeeper and maids, all somewhat scared by their 
lady's unwonted mood did a world of good at once : it 
helped the assistants and appeased the directress. A chance 
glance and smile from Caroline moved Shirley to an answer- 
ing smile directly. The former was carrying a heavy basket 
up the cellar-stairs. 

1 This is a shame ! ' cried Shirley, running to her. ' It 
will strain your arm. 1 

She took it from her, and herself bore it out into the 
yard. The cloud of temper was dispelled when she came 
back ; the flash in her eye was melted ; the shade on her 
forehead vanished :' she resumed her usual cheerful and 
cordial manner to those about her, tempering her revived 
spirits with a little of the softness of shame at her previous 
unjust anger. 

She was still superintending the lading of the cart when 
a gentleman entered the yard and approached her ere she 
was aware of his presence. 

' I hope I see Miss Keeldar well this morning ? ' he said, 
examining with rather a significant scrutiny her still flushed 

She gave him a look, and then again bent to her employ- 
ment, without reply. A pleasant enough smile played on her 
lips, but she hid it. The gentleman repeated his salutation, 
stooping, that it might reach her ear with more facility. 

' Well enough, if she be good enough,' was the answer ; 
' and so is Mr. Moore, too, I daresay. To speak truth, I am 
not anxious about him ; some slight mischance would be 
only his just, due : his conduct has been we will say strange, 
just now, till we have time to characterise it by a more 
exact epithet. Meantime, may I ask what brings him here ? ' 


' Mr. Helstone and I have just received your message 
that everything at Fieldhead was at our service. We judged, 
by the unlimited wording of the gracious intimation, that 
you would be giving yourself too much trouble : I perceive, 
our conjecture was correct. We are not a regiment, remem- 
ber : only about half-a-dozen soldiers, and as many civilians. 
Allow me to retrench something from these too abundant 

Miss Keeldar blushed, while she laughed at her own over- 
eager generosity, and most disproportionate calculations. 
Moore laughed too very quietly, though ; and as quietly, 
he ordered basket after basket to be taken from the cart, 
and remanded vessel after vessel to the cellar. 

' The Rector must hear of this,' he said : ' he will make a 
good story of it. What an excellent army contractor Miss 
Keeldar would have been ! ' again he laughed, adding ' It 
is precisely as I conjectured.' 

1 You ought to be thankful,' said Shirley, ' and not mock 
me. What could I do ? How could I gauge your appetites, 
or number your band ? For aught I knew, there might have 
been fifty of you at least to victual. You told me nothing ; 
and then, an application to provision soldiers naturally 
suggests large ideas.' 

' It appears so,' remarked Moore, levelling another of his 
keen, quiet glances at the discomfited Shirley. ' Now,' he 
continued, addressing the carter, ' I think you may take 
what remains to the Hollow. Your load will be somewhat 
lighter than the one Miss Keeldar destined you to carry.' 

As the vehicle rumbled out of the yard, Shirley, rallying 
her spirits, demanded what had become of the wounded. 

'There was not a single man hurt on our side,' was the 

' You were hurt yourself, on the temples,' interposed a 
quick, low voice that of Caroline, who, having withdrawn 
within the shade of the door, and behind the large person of 
Mrs. Gill, had till now escaped Moore's notice : when she 
spoke, his eye searched the obscurity of her retreat. 


' Are you much hurt ? ' she inquired. 

'As you might scratch your finger with a needle in 

1 Lift your hair, and let us see.' 

He took his hat off, and did as he was bid, disclosing 
only a narrow slip of court-plaster. Caroline indicated, by 
a slight movement of the head, that she was satisfied, and 
disappeared within the clear obscure of the interior. 

' How did she know I was hurt ? ' asked Moore. 

'By rumour, no doubt. But it is too good in her to 
trouble herself about you. For my part, it was of your 
victims I was thinking when I inquired after the wounded : 
what damage have your opponents sustained ? ' 

' One of the rioters, or victims, as you call them, was 
killed, and six were hurt.' 

1 What have you done with them ? ' 

' What you will perfectly approve. Medical aid was pro- 
cured immediately ; and as soon as we can get a couple of 
covered waggons, and some clean straw, they will be removed 
to StilbroV 

' Straw ! you must have beds and bedding. I will send 
my waggon directly, properly furnished ; and Mr. Yorke, I 
am sure, will send his.' 

' You guess correctly : he has volunteered already ; and 
Mrs. Yorke who, like you, seems disposed to regard the 
rioters as martyrs, and me, and especially Mr. Helstone, as 
murderers is at this moment, I believe, most assiduously 
engaged in fitting it up with feather-beds, pillows, bolsters, 
blankets, &c. The victims lack no attentions I promise 
you. Mr. Hall your favourite parson has been with 
them ever since six o'clock, exhorting them, praying with 
them, and even waiting on them like any nurse ; and 
Caroline's good friend, Miss Ainley, that very plain old 
maid, sent in a stock of lint and linen, something in 
the proportion of another lady's allowance of beef and 

' That will do. Where is your sister ? ' 


1 Well cared for. I had her securely domiciled with Miss 
Mann. This very morning, the two set out for Wormwood 
Wells (a noted watering-place), and will stay there some 

' So Mr. Helstone domiciled me at the Rectory ! Mighty 
clever you gentlemen think you are ! I make you heartily 
welcome to the idea, and hope its savour, as you chew the 
cud of reflection upon it, gives you pleasure. Acute and 
astute, why are you not also omniscient ? How is it that 
events transpire, under your very noses, of which you have 
no suspicion? It should be so, otherwise the exquisite 
gratification of out-manoeuvring you would be unknown. 
Ah ! friend, you may search my countenance, but you cannot 
read it." 

Moore, indeed, looked as if he could not. 

' You think me a dangerous specimen of my sex. Don't 
you, now ? ' 

' A peculiar one, at least.' 

' But Caroline is she peculiar ? ' 

' In her way yes.' 

1 Her way ! What is her way ? ' 

' You know her as well as I do.' 

1 And knowing her I assert that she is neither eccentric 
nor difficult of control : is she ? ' 

' That depends ' 

1 However, there is nothing masculine about her ? ' 

1 Why lay such emphasis on her ? Do you consider her 
a contrast, in that respect, to yourself ? ' 

' You do, no doubt : but that does not signify. Caroline 
is neither masculine, nor of what they call the spirited order 
of women.' 

' I have seen her flash out.' 

' So have I but not with manly fire : it was a short, 
vivid, trembling glow, that shot up, shone, vanished 

1 And left her scared at her own daring. You describe 
others besides Caroline.' 

' The point I wish to establish is, that Miss Helstone, 


though gentle, tractable, and candid enough, is still perfectly 
capable of defying even Mr. Moore's penetration.' 

' What have you and she been doing ? ' asked Moore, 

1 Have you had any breakfast ? ' 

1 What is your mutual mystery ? ' 

' If you are hungry, Mrs. Gill will give you something to 
eat here. Step into the oak-parlour, and ring the bell you 
will be served as if at an inn ; or, if you like better, go back 
to the Hollow.' 

' The alternative is not open to me : I must go back. 
Good morning : the first leisure I have, I will see you 



WHILE Shirley was talking with Moore, Caroline rejoined 
Mrs. Pryor upstairs. She found that lady deeply depressed. 
She would not say that Miss Keeldar's hastiness had hurt 
her feelings ; but it was evident an inward wound galled her. 
To any but a congenial nature, she would have seemed 
insensible to the quiet, tender attentions by which Miss 
Helstone sought to impart solace ; but Caroline knew that, 
unmoved or slightly moved as she looked, she felt, valued, 
and was healed by them. 

' I am deficient in self-confidence and decision,' she said 
at last. ' I always have been deficient in those qualities : 
yet I think Miss Keeldar should have known my character 
well enough by this time, to be aware that I always feel an 
even painful solicitude to do right, to act for the best. The 
unusual nature of the demand on my judgment puzzled me, 
especially following the alarms of the night. I could not 
venture to act promptly for another : but I trust no serious 
harm will result from my lapse of firmness.' 

A gentle knock was here heard at the door: it was half- 

' Caroline, come here,' said a low voice. 

Miss Helstone went out : there stood Shirley in the 
gallery, looking contrite, ashamed, sorry as any repentant 

' How is Mrs. Pryor ? ' she asked. 

' Bather out of spirits,' said Caroline. 

1 1 have behaved very shamefully, very ungenerously, 


very ungratefully to her,' said Shirley. ' How insolent in 
me to turn on her thus, for what after all was no fault, only 
an excess of conscientiousness on her part. But I regret 
my error most sincerely : tell her so, and ask if she will 
forgive me.' 

Caroline discharged the errand with heartfelt pleasure. 
Mrs. Pryor rose, came to the door : she did not like scenes ; 
she dreaded them as all timid people do : she said falteringly 
' Come in, my dear.' 

Shirley did come in with some impetuosity : she threw 
her arms round her governess, and while she kissed her 
heartily, she said ' You know you must forgive me, Mrs. 
Pryor. I could not get on at all if there was a misunder- 
standing between you and me.' 

1 1 have nothing to forgive,' was the reply. ' We will 
pass it over now, if you please. The final result of the 
incident is, that it proves more plainly than ever how 
unequal I am to certain crises.' 

And that was the painful feeling which would remain on 
Mrs. Pryor's mind : no effort of Shirley's or Caroline's 
could efface it thence : she could forgive her offending pupil, 
not her innocent self. 

Miss Keeldar, doomed to be in constant request during 
the morning, was presently summoned down-stairs again. 
The Rector called first : a lively welcome and livelier 
reprimand were at his service ; he expected both, and, being 
in high spirits, took them in equally good part- 

In the course of his brief visit, he quite forgot to ask 
after his niece : the riot, the rioters, the mill, the magistrates, 
the heiress, absorbed all his thoughts to the exclusion of 
family ties. He alluded to the part himself and curate had 
taken in the defence of the Hollow. 

' The vials of pharisaical wrath will be emptied on our 
heads, for our share in this business,' he said ; ' but I defy 
every calumniator. I was there only to support the law, to 
play my part as a man and a Briton ; which characters I 
deem quite compatible with those of the priest and Levite, 


in their highest sense. Your tenant, Moore,' he went on, 
' has won my approbation. A cooler commander I would 
not wish to see, nor a more determined. Besides, the man 
has shown sound judgment and good sense ; first, in being 
thoroughly prepared for the event which has taken place, 
and subsequently, when his well-concerted plans had secured 
him success, in knowing how to use without abusing his 
victory. Some of the magistrates are now well frightened, 
and, like all cowards, show a tendency to be cruel ; Moore 
restrains them with admirable prudence. He has hitherto 
been very unpopular in the neighbourhood ; but, mark my 
words, the tide of opinion will now take a turn in his favour : 
people will find out that they have not appreciated him, 
and will hasten to remedy their error ; and he, when he 
perceives the public disposed to acknowledge his merits, will 
show a more gracious mien than that with which he has 
hitherto favoured us.' 

Mr. Helstone was about to add to this speech some 
half -jesting, half -serious warnings to Miss Keeldar, on the 
subject of her rumoured partiality for her talented tenant, 
when a ring at the door, announcing another caller, checked 
his raillery ; and as that other caller appeared in the form 
of a white-haired, elderly gentleman, with a rather truculent 
countenance and disdainful eye in short, our old acquaint- 
ance, and the Rector's old enemy, Mr. Yorke the priest 
and Levite seized his hat, and with the briefest of adieux to 
Miss Keeldar, and the sternest of nods to her guest, took an 
abrupt leave. 

Mr. Yorke was in no mild mood, and in no measured 
terms did he express his opinion on the transaction of the 
night : Moore, the magistrates, the soldiers, the mob-leaders, 
each and all came in for a share of his invectives ; but he 
reserved his strongest epithets and real racy Yorkshire 
Doric adjectives they were for the benefit of the fighting 
parsons, the ' sanguinary, demoniac ' rector and curate. 
According to him, the cup of ecclesiastical guilt was now 
full indeed. 


1 The Church/ he said, ' was in a bonnie pickle now : it 
was time it came down when parsons took to swaggering 
amang soldiers, blazing away wi' bullet and gunpowder, 
taking the lives of far honester men than themselves.' 

' What would Moore have done, if nobody had helped 
him ? ' asked Shirley. 

' Drunk as he'd brewed eaten as he'd baked.' 

1 Which means, you would have left him by himself to 
face that mob. Good. He lias plenty of courage ; but the 
greatest amount of gallantry that ever garrisoned one human 
breast could scarce avail against two hundred.' 

' He had the soldiers ; those poor slave's who hire out 
their own blood and spill other folks' for money.' 

' You abuse soldiers almost as much as you abuse clergy- 
men. All who wear red coats are national refuse in your 
eyes, and all who wear black are national swindlers. Mr. 
Moore, according to you, did wrong to get military aid, and 
he did still worse to accept of any other aid. Your way of 
talking amounts to this : he should have abandoned hia 
mill and his life to the rage of a set of misguided madmen, 
and Mr. Helstone and every other gentleman in the parish 
should have looked on, and seen the building razed and its 
owner slaughtered, and never stirred a finger to save either,' 

' If Moore had behaved to his men from the beginning 
as a master ought to behave, they never would have enter- 
tained their present feelings towards him.' 

' Easy for you to talk,' exclaimed Miss Keeldar, who was 
beginning to wax warm in her tenant's cause : ' you, whose 
family have lived at Briarmains for six generations, to whose 
person the people have been accustomed for fifty years, who 
know all their ways, prejudices, and preferences. Easy, 
indeed, for you to act so as to avoid offending them ; but 
Mr. Moore came a stranger into the district : he came here 
poor and friendless, with nothing but his own energies to 
back him ; nothing but his honour, his talent, and his 
industry to make his way for him. A monstrous crime 
indeed that, under such circumstances, he could not 

MBS. I>BYO 377 

popularise his naturally grave, quiet manners, all at once : 
could not be jocular, and free, and cordial with a strange 
peasantry, as you are with your fellow-townsmen ! An 
unpardonable transgression, that when he introduced im- 
provements he did not go about the business in quite the 
most politic way ; did not graduate his changes as delicately 
as a rich capitalist might have done ! For errors of this sort 
is he to be the victim of mob-outrage ? Is he to be denied 
even the privilege of defending himself? Are those who 
have the hearts of men in their breasts (and Mr. Helstone 
say what you will of him has such a heart) to be reviled 
like malefactors because they stand by him because they 
venture to espouse the cause of one against two hundred ? ' 

' Come come now be cool,' said Mr. Yorke, smiling at 
the earnestness with which Shirley multiplied her rapid 

' Cool ! Must I listen coolly to downright nonsense to 
dangerous nonsense ? No. I like you very well, Mr. Yorke, 
as you know ; but I thoroughly dislike some of your 
principles. All that cant excuse me, but I repeat the 
word all that cant about soldiers and parsons is most 
offensive in my ears. All ridiculous, irrational crying up of 
one class, whether the same be aristocrat or democrat all 
howling down of another class, whether clerical or military 
all exacting injustice to individuals, whether monarch or 
mendicant is really sickening to me : all arraying of ranks 
against 'ranks, all party hatreds, all tyrannies disguised as 
liberties, I reject and wash my hands of. You think you 
are a philanthropist ; you think you are an advocate of 
liberty ; but I will tell you this Mr. Hall, the parson of 
Nunnely, is a better friend both of man and freedom, than 
Hiram Yorke, the Eeformer of Briarfield.' 

From a man, Mr. Yorke would not have borne this 
language very patiently, nor would he have endured it from 
some women ; but he accounted Shirley both honest and 
pretty, and her plain-spoken ire amused him : besides he 
took a secret pleasure in hearing her defend her tenant, for 


we have already intimated he had Robert Moore's interest 
very much at heart : moreover, if he wished to avenge him- 
self for her severity, he knew the means lay in his power : 
a word, he believed, would suffice to tame and silence her, 
to cover her frank forehead with the rosy shadow of shame, 
and veil the glow of her eye under down-drooped lid and 

' What more hast thou to say ? ' he inquired, as she 
paused, rather it appeared to take breath, than because her 
subject or her zeal was exhausted. 

' Say, Mr. Yorke ! ' was the answer, the speaker mean- 
time walking fast from wall to wall of the oak -parlour. ' Say ? 
I have a great deal to say, if I could get it out in lucid order 
which I never can do. I have to say that your views, and 
those of most extreme politicians, are such as none but men 
in an irresponsible position can advocate ; that they are 
purely opposition views, meant only to be talked about, and 
never intended to be acted on. Make you prime minister of 
England to-morrow, and you would have to abandom them. 
You abuse Moore for defending his mill : had you been in 
Moore's place you could not with honour or sense have 
acted otherwise than he acted. You abuse Mr. Helstone 
for everything he does : Mr. Helstone has his faults : he 
sometimes does wrong, but oftener right. Were you ordained 
vicar of Briarfiold, you would find it no easy task to sustain 
all the active schemes for the benefit of the parish planned 
and persevered in by your predecessor. I wonder people can- 
not judge more fairly of each other and themselves. When I 
hear Messrs. Malone and Donne chatter about the authority 
of the Church, the dignity and claims of the priesthood, the 
deference due to them as clergymen ; when I hear the out- 
breaks of their small spite against Dissenters ; when I 
witness their silly narrow jealousies and assumptions ; when 
their palaver about forms, and traditions, and superstitions, 
is sounding in my ear ; when I behold their insolent 
carnage to the poor, their often base servility to the rich, I 
think the Establishment is indeed in a poor way, and both 


she and her sons appear in the utmost need of reformation. 
Turning away distressed from minster-tower and village- 
spire ay, as distressed as a churchwarden who feels the 
exigence of whitewash, and has not wherewithal to purchase 
lime I recall your senseless sarcasms on the " fat bishops," 
the " pampered parsons," " old mother church," &c. I 
remember your strictures on all who differ from you, your 
sweeping condemnation of classes and individuals, without 
the slightest allowance made for circumstances or tempta- 
tions ; and then, Mr. Yorke, doubt clutches my inmost heart 
as to whether men exist clement, reasonable, and just enough 
to be intrusted with the task of reform. I don't believe you 
are of the number.' 

1 You have an ill opinion of me, Miss Shirley : you never 
told me so much of your mind before.' 

' I never had an opening : but I have sat on Jessie's stool 
by your chair in the back-parlour at Briarmains, for evenings 
together, listening excitedly to your talk, half-admiring what 
you said, and half-rebelling against it. I think you a fine 
old Yorkshireman, sir : I am proud to have been born in the 
same county and parish as yourself truthful, upright, inde- 
pendent you ai'e, as a rock based below seas ; but also you 
are harsh, rude, narrow, and merciless.' 

4 Not to the poor, lass nor to the meek of the earth 
only to the proud and high-minded.' 

4 And what right have you, sir, to make such distinctions ? 
A prouder a higher-minded man than yourself does not 
exist. You find it easy to speak comfortably to your 
inferiors you are too haughty, too ambitious, too jealous to 
be civil to those above you. But you are all alike. Helstone 
also is proud and prejudiced. Moore, though juster and 
more considerate than either you or the Rector, is still 
haughty, stern, and, in a public sense, selfish. It is well 
there are such men as Mr. Hall to be found occasionally : 
men of large and kind hearts, who can love their whole race, 
who can forgive others for being richer, more prospei'ous, or 
more powerful than they are. Such men may have less 


originality, less force of character than you, but they are 
better friends to mankind.' 

' And when is it to be ? ' said Mr. Yorke, now rising. 

' When is what to be ? ' 

' The wedding.' 

1 Whose wedding ? ' 

' Only that of Eobert Gerard Moore, Esq., of Hollow's 
Cottage, with Miss Keeldar, daughter and heiress of the late 
Charles Cave Keeldar, of Fieldhead Hall.' 

Shirley gazed at the questioner with rising colour ; but 
the light iu her eye was not faltering : it shone steadily yea 
it burned deeply. 

' That is your revenge,' she said, slowly : then added : 
' Would it be a bad match, unworthy of the late Charles 
Cave Keeldar 's representative ? ' 

1 My lass, Moore is a gentleman : his blood is pure and 
ancient as mine or thine." 

' And we too set store by ancient blood ? We have 
family pride, though one of us at least is a Republican? ' 

Yorke bowed as he stood before her. His lips were mute, 
but his eye confessed the impeachment. Yes he had family 
pride you saw it in his whole bearing. 

' Moore is a gentleman,' echoed Shirley, lifting her head 
with glad grace. She checked herself words seemed crowd-, 
ing to her tongue, she would not give them utterance ; but 

her look spoke much at the moment : what Yorke tried 

to read, but could not the language was there visible, 

but untranslatable a poem a fervid lyric in an unknown 
tongue. It was not a plain storj , however no simple gush 
of feeling no ordinary love -confession that was obvious ; 
it was something other, deeper, more intricate than he 
guessed at : he felt his revenge had not struck home ; he felt 
that Shirley triumphed she held him at fault, baffled, 
puzzled ; she enjoyed the moment not he. 

' And if Moore is a gentleman, you can be only a lady, 

' Therefore there would be no inequality in our union ? ' 


' None.' 

' Thank you for your approbation. Will you give me 
away when I relinquish the name of Keeldar for that of 
Moore ? ' 

Mr. Yorke, instead of replying, gazed at her much puzzled. 
He could not divine what her look signified ; whether she 
spoke in earnest or in jest : there was purpose and feeling, 
banter and scoff playing, mingled, on her mobile lineaments. 

1 1 don't understand thee,' he said, turning away. 

She laughed : ' Take courage, sir : you are not singular 
in your ignorance : but I suppose if Moore understands me 
that will do will it not ? ' 

' Moore may settle his own matters henceforward for me ; 
I'll neither meddle nor make with them further.' 

A new thought crossed her: her countenance changed 
magically : with a sudden darkening of the eye, and austere 
fixing of the features, she demanded,' Have you been asked 
to interfere ? Are you questioning me as another's proxy ? ' 

1 The Lord save us ! Whoever weds thee must look 
about him ! Keep all your questions for Eobert ; I'll answer 
no more on 'em. Good-day, lassie ! ' 

The day being fine, or at least fair for soft clouds 
curtained the sun, and a dim but not chill or waterish haze 
slept blue on the hills Caroline, while Shirley was engaged 
with her callers, had persuaded Mrs. Pryor to assume her 
bonnet and summer shawl, and to take a walk with her up 
towards the narrow end of the Hollow. 

Here, the opposing sides of the glen approaching each 
other, and becoming clothed with brushwood and stunted 
oaks, formed a wooded ravine ; at the bottom of which ran 
the mill-stream, in broken unquiet course, struggling with 
many stones, chafing against rugged banks, fretting with 
gnarled tree-roots, foaming, gurgling, battling as it went. 
Here, when you had wandered half a mile from the mill, 
you found a sense of deep solitude : found it in the 
shade of unmolested trees ; received it in the singing of 

382 SHtKLEY 

many birds, for which that shade made a home. This was 
no trodden way : the freshness of the woodflowers attested 
that foot of man seldom pressed them : the abounding wild- 
roses looked as if they budded, bloomed, and faded under 
the watch of solitude, as in a sultan's harem. Here you saw 
the sweet azure of blue-bells, and recognised in pearl-white 
blossoms, spangling the grass, an humble type of some star- 
lit spot in space. 

Mrs. Pryor liked a quiet walk : she ever shunned high- 
roads, and sought byways and lonely lanes : one companion 
she preferred to total solitude, for in solitude she was nervous : 
a vague fear of annoying encounters broke the enjoyment of 
quite lonely rambles ; but she feared nothing with Caroline : 
when once she got away from human habitations, and entered 
the still demesne of Nature, accompanied by this one youth- 
ful friend, a propitious change seemed to steal over her 
mind and beam in her countenance. When with Caroline 
and Caroline only her heart, you would have said, shook 
off a burden, her brow put aside a veil, her spirits too escaped 
from a restraint : with her she was cheerful ; with her, at 
times, she was tender : to her she would impart her know- 
ledge, I'eveal glimpses of her experience, give her oppor- 
tunities for guessing what life she had lived, what cultivation 
her mind had received, of what calibre was her intelligence, 
how and where her feelings were vulnerable. 

To-day, for instance, as they walked along, Mrs. Pryor 
talked to her companion about the various birds singing in 
the trees, discriminated their species, and said something 
about their habits and peculiarities. English natural history 
seemed familiar to her. All the wild flowers round their 
path were recognised by her : tiny plants springing near 
stones and peeping out of chinks in old walls plants such 
as Caroline had scarcely noticed before received a name 
and an intimation of their properties : it appeared that she 
had minutely studied the botany of English fields and woods. 
Having reached the head of the ravine, they sat down together 
on a ledge of gray and mossy rock jutting from the base of a 


steep green hill, which towered above them : Mrs. Pryor 
looked round her, and spoke of the neighbourhood as she 
had once before seen it long ago. She alluded to its changes, 
and compared its aspect with that of other parts of England ; 
revealing in quiet, unconscious touches of description, a 
sense of the pictm*esque, an appreciation of the beautiful or 
common-place, a power of comparing the wild with the 
cultured, the grand with the tame, that gave to her discourse 
a graphic charm as pleasant as it was unpretending. 

The sort of reverent pleasure with which Caroline listened 
so sincere, so quiet, yet so evident, stirred the elder lady's 
faculties to gentle animation. Rarely, probably, had she, 
with her chill, repellent outside her diffident mien and 
incommunicative habits, known what it was to excite in one 
whom she herself could love, feelings of earnest affection 
and admiring esteem. Delightful, doubtless, was the con- 
sciousness that a young girl towards whom it seemed 
judging by the moved expression of her eyes and features 
her heart turned with almost a fond impulse, looked up to 
her as an instructor, and clung to her as a friend. With a 
somewhat more marked accent of interest than she often 
permitted herself to use, she said, as she bent towards her 
youthful companion, and put aside from her forehead a pale 
brown curl which had strayed from the confining comb 
' I do hope this sweet air blowing from the hill will do you 
good, my dear Caroline : I wish I could see something more 
of colour in these cheeks but perhaps you were never 
florid ? ' 

' I had red cheeks once,' returned Miss Helstone, smiling. 
' I remember a year two years ago, when I used to look in 
the glass, I saw a different face there to what I see now 
rounder and rosier. But when \ve are young,' added the 
girl of eighteen, ' our minds are careless and our lives easy.' 

' Do you ' continued Mrs. Pryor, mastering by an effort 
that tyrant timidity which made it difficult for her, even 
under present circumstances, to attempt the scrutiny of 
another's heart ' Do you, at your age, fret yourself with 


cares for the future ? Believe me, you had better not : let 
the morrow take thought for the things of itself.' 

' True, dear madam : it is not over the future I pine. 
The evil of the day is sometimes oppressive too oppressive, 
and I long to escape it.' 

' That is the evil of the day that is your uncle perhaps 
is not you find it difficult to understand he does not 

Mrs. Pryor could not complete her broken sentences : 
she could not manage to put the question whether Mr. 
Helstone was too harsh with his niece, but Caroline com- 

' Oh, that is nothing,' she replied ; ' my uncle and I get 
on very well : we never quarrel I don't call him harsh he 
never scolds me. Sometimes I wish somebody in the world 
loved me ; but I cannot say that I particularly wish him to 
have more affection for me than he has. As a child, I should 
perhaps have felt the want of attention, only the servants 
were very kind to me ; but when people are long indifferent 
to us, we grow indifferent to their indifference. It is my 
uncle's way not to care for women and girls unless they be 
ladies that he meets in company : he could not alter, and I 
have no wish that he should alter, as far as I am concerned. 
I believe it would merely annoy and frighten me were he to 
be affectionate towards me now. But you know, Mrs. Pryor, 
it is scarcely living to measure time as I do at the Eectory. 
The hours pass, and I get them over somehow, but I do not 
live. I endure existence, but I rarely enjoy it. Since Miss 
Keeldar and you came, I have been I was going to say 
happier, but that would be untrue.' She paused. 

' How untrue ? You are fond of Miss Keeldar, are you 
not, my dear ? ' 

' Very fond of Shirley : I both like and admire her : but 
I am painfully circumstanced : for a reason I cannot explain, 
I want to go away from this place, and to forget it.' 

' You told me before you wished to be a governess : but, 
my dear, if you remember, I did not encourage the idea. 


I have been a governess myself great part of my life. In 
Miss Keeldar's acquaintance, I esteem myself most fortunate : 
her talents and her really sweet disposition have rendered 
my office easy to me ; but when I was young, before I 
married, my trials were severe, poignant. I should not like 

a . I should not like you to endure similar ones. It 

was my lot to enter a family of considerable pretensions to 
good birth and mental superiority, and the members of 
which also believed that "on them was perceptible" an 
unusual endowment of the " Christian graces : " that all their 
hearts were regenerate, and their spirits in a peculiar state 
of discipline. I was early given to understand, that " as I 
was not their equal," so I could not expect " to have their 
sympathy." It was in no sort concealed from me that I was 
held a " burden and a restraint in society." The gentlemen, 
I found, regarded me as a " tabooed woman," to whom " they 
were interdicted from granting the usual privileges of the 
sex," and yet who " annoyed them by frequently crossing 
their path." The ladies too made it plain that they thought 
me " a bore." The servants, it was signified, " detested me : " 
why, I could never clearly comprehend. My pupils, I was 
told, " however much they might love me, and how deep 
soever the interest I might take in them, could not be my 
friends." It was intimated, that I must " live alone, and 
never transgress the invisible but rigid line which established 
the difference between me and my employers." My life in 
this house was sedentary, solitary, constrained, joyless, toil- 
some. The dreadful crushing of the animal spirits, the ever 
prevailing sense of friendlessness ami homelessness consequent 
on this state of things, began ere long to produce mortal 
effects on my constitution I sickened. The lady of the 
house told me coolly I was the victim of " wounded vanity." 
She hinted, that if I did not make an effort to quell my 
"ungodly discontent," to cease " murmuring against God's 
appointment," and to cultivate the profound humility befit- 
ting my station, my mind would very likely "go to pieces" 
on the rock that wrecked most of my sisterhood morbid 


self-esteem ; and that I should die an inmate of a lunatic 

' I said nothing to Mrs. Hardman ; it would have been 
useless : but to her eldest daughter I one day dropped a few 
observations, which were answered thus : 

1 There were hardships, she allowed, in the position of a 
governess : " doubtless they had their trials : but," she 
averred, with a manner it makes me smile now to recall 
" but it must be so. She (Miss H.) had neither view, hope, 
nor wish to see these things remedied ; for, in the inherent 
constitution of English habits, feelings and prejudices, there 
was no possibility that they should be. Governesses," she 
observed, " must ever be kept in a sort of isolation : it is the 
only means of maintaining that distance which the reserve 
of English manners and the decorum of English families 

' I remember I sighed as Miss Hardman quitted my 
bedside : she caught the sound, and turning, said severely, 
" I fear, Miss Grey, you have inherited in fullest measure 
the worst sin of our fallen nature the sin of pride. You 
are proud, and therefore you are ungrateful too. Mamma 
pays you a handsome salary ; and, if you had average sense, 
you would thankfully put up with much that is fatiguing to 
do and irksome to bear, since it is so well made worth your 

' Miss Hardman, my love, was a very strong-minded 
young lady, of most distinguished talents : the aristocracy 
are decidedly a very superior class, you know both phy- 
sically, and morally, and mentally as a high Tory I 
acknowledge that I could not describe the dignity of her 
voice and mien as she addressed me thus : still, I fear, she 
was selfish, my dear. I would never wish to speak ill of 
my superiors in rank ; but I think she was a little selfish. 

' I remember,' continued Mrs. Pryor, after a pause, 
1 another of Mh;s H.'s observations, which she would utter 
with quite a grand air. " WE," she would say," WE need 
the imprudences, extravagances, mistakes, and crimes of a 


certain number of fathers to sow the seed from which WE 
reap the harvest of governesses. The daughters of trades- 
people, however well educated, must necessarily be under- 
bred, and as such unfit to be inmates of OUR dwellings, or 
guardians of OUR children's minds and persons. WE shall 
ever prefer to place those about OUR offspring, who have 
been born and bred with somewhat of the same refinement 


' Miss Hardman must have thought herself something 
better than her fellow-creatures, ma'am, since she held 
that their calamities, and even crimes, were necessary to 
minister to her convenience. You say she was religious : 
her religion must have been that of the Pharisee, who 
thanked God that he was not as other men are, nor even 
as that publican.' 

' My dear, we will not discuss the point : I should be 
the last person to wish to instil into your mind any feeling 
of dissatisfaction with your lot in life, or any sentiment of 
envy or insubordination towards your superiors. Implicit 
submission to authorities, scrupulous deference to our 
betters (under which term I, of course, include the higher 
classes of society) are, in my opinion, indispensable to the 
wellbeing of every community. All I mean to say, my dear, 
is, that you had better not attempt to be a governess, as 
the duties of the position would be too severe for your 
constitution. Not one word of disrespect would I breathe 
towards either Mrs. or Miss Hardman ; only, recalling 
my own experience, I cannot but feel that, were you to fall 
under auspices such as theirs, you would contend a while 
courageously with your doom : then you would pine and 
grow too weak for your work : you would come home if you 
still had a home broken down. Those languishing years 
would follow, of which none but the invalid and her imme- 
diate friends feel the heart-sickness and know the burden : 
consumption or decline would close the chapter. Such is 
the history of many a life : I \vould not have it yours. My 
dear, we will now walk about a little, if you please.' 



They both rose and slowly paced a green natural 
terrace bordering the chasm. 

' My dear,' erelong again began Mrs. Pryor, a sort of 
timid, embarrassed abruptness marking her manner as she 
spoke, ' the young, especially those to whom nature has been 
favourable often frequently anticipate look forward to 
to marriage as the end, the goal of their hopes.' 

And she stopped. Caroline came to her relief with 
promptitude, showing a great deal more self-possession 
and courage than herself on the formidable topic now 

' They do ; and naturally,' she replied, with a calm em- 
phasis that startled Mrs. Pryor. 'They look forward to 
marriage with some one they love as the brightest, the 
only bright destiny that can await them. Are they wrong ? ' 

' Oh, my dear ! ' exclaimed Mrs. Pryor, clasping her 
hands : and again she paused. Caroline turned a searching, 
an eager eye on the face of her friend : that face was much 
agitated. ' My dear,' she murmured, ' life is an illusion.' 

' But not love ! Love is real : the most real, the most 
lasting, the sweetest and yet the bitterest thing we know. 1 

' My dear it is very bitter. It is said to be strong 
strong as death. Most of the cheats of existence are strong. 
As to its sweetness nothing is so transitory : its date is a 
moment, the twinkling of an eye : the sting remains for 
ever : it may perish with the dawn of eternity, but it tortures 
through time into its deepest night.' 

' Yes, it tortures through time,' agreed Caroline, ' except 
when it is mutual love.' 

' Mutual love ! My dear, romances are pernicious. You 
do not read them, I hope ? ' 

'Sometimes whenever I can get them, indeed; but 
romance-writers might know nothing of love, judging by 
the way in which they treat of it.' 

' Nothing whatever, my dear ! ' assented Mrs. Pryor, 
eagerly ; ' nor of marriage ; and the false pictures they give 
of those subjects cannot be too strongly condemned. They 


are not like reality : they show you only the green tempting 
surface of the marsh, and give not one faithful or truthful 
hint of the slough underneath.' 

' But it is not always slough,' objected Caroline : ' there 
are happy marriages. Where affection is reciprocal and 
sincere, and minds are harmonious, marriage must be 

'It is never wholly happy. Two people can never 
literally be as one : there is, perhaps, a possibility of con- 
tent under peculiar circumstances, such as are seldom com- 
bined ; but it is as well not to run the risk : you may make 
fatal mistakes. Be satisfied, my dear : let all the single be 
satisfied with their freedom.' 

' You echo my uncle's words ! ' exclaimed Caroline, in a 
tone of dismay : ' you speak like Mrs. Yorke, in her most 
gloomy moments like Miss Mann, when she is most 
sourly and hypochondriacally disposed. This is terrible ! ' 

' No, it is only true. Oh, child ! you have only lived the 
pleasant morning time of life : the hot, weary noon, the sad 
evening, the sunless night, are yet to come for you ! Mr. 
Helstone, you say, talks as 1 talk ; and I wonder how Mrs. 
Matthewson Helstone would have talked had she been 
living. She died ! she died ! ' 

' And, alas ! my own mother and father. ..." exclaimed 
Caroline, struck by a sombre recollection. 

1 What of them ? ' 

' Did I never tell you that they were separated ? ' 

' I have heard it.' 

' They must then have been very miserable. . 

' You see all facts go to prove what I say.' 

'In thia case there ought to be no such thing as 

' There ought, my dear, were it only to prove that this 
life is a mere state of probation, wherein neither rest nor 
recompence is to be vouchsafed.' 

' But your own marriage, Mrs. Pryor ? ' 

Mrs. Pryor shrunk and shuddered as if a rude finger had 


pressed a naked nerve : Caroline felt she had touched what 
would not bear the slightest contact. 

' My marriage was unhappy,' said the lady, summoning 
courage at last ; ' but yet ' she hesitated. 

'But yet,' suggested Caroline, ' not immitigably wretched ?' 

' Not in its results, at least. No, she added, in a softer 
tone, ' God mingles something of the balm of mercy even in 
vials of the most corrosive woe. He can so turn events, 
that from the very same blind, rash act whence sprang the 
curse of half our life, may flow the blessing of the remainder. 
Then, I am of a peculiar disposition, I own that : far from 
facile, without address, in some points eccentric. I ought 
never to have married : mine is not the nature easily to find 
a duplicate, or likely to assimilate with a contrast. I was 
quite aware of my own ineligibility : and if I had not been 
so miserable as a governess, I never should have married ; 
and then ' 

Caroline's eyes asked her to proceed : they entreated her 
to break the thick cloud of despair, which her previous words 
had seemed to spread over life. 

' And then, my dear, Mr. , that is, the gentleman I 

married, was, perhaps, rather an exceptional than an average 
character. I hope, at least, the experience of few has been 
such as mine was, or that few have felt their sufferings as I 
felt mine. They nearly shook my mind : relief was so hope- 
less, redress so unattainable : but, my dear, I do not wish to 
dishearten, I only wish to warn you, and to prove that the 
single should not be too anxious to change their state, as 
they may change for the worse.' 

' Thank you, my dear madam, I quite understand your 
kind intentions ; but there is no fear of my falling into the 
error to which you allude. I, at least, have no thoughts of 
marriage, and, for that reason, I want to make myself a 
position by some other means.' 

' My dear, listen to me. On what I am going to say, I 
have carefully deliberated ; having, indeed, revolved the 
subject in my thoughts ever since you first mentioned your 

MBS. PfeYOB 391 

wish to obtain a situation. You know I at present reside 
with Miss Keeldar in the capacity of companion : should she 
marry (and that she will marry erelong, many circumstances 
induce me to conclude), I shall cease to be necessary to her 
in that capacity. I must tell you that I possess a small 
independency, arising partly from my own savings, and 
partly from a legacy left me some years since ; whenever I 
leave Fieldhead, I shall take a house of my own : I could 
not endure to live in solitude : I have no relations whom I 
care to invite to close intimacy ; for, as you must have 
observed, and as I have already avowed, my habits and 
tastes have their peculiarities : to you, my dear, I need not 
say I am attached ; with you I am happier than I have ever 
been with any living thing ' (this was said with marked 
emphasis). ' Your society I should esteem a very dear 
privilege an inestimable privilege, a comfort, a blessing. 
You shall come to me then. Caroline, do you refuse me ? 
1 hope you can love me ? ' 

And with these two abrupt questions she stopped. 

' Indeed, I do love you,' was the reply. ' I should like to 
live with you : but you are too kind.' 

' All I have,' went on Mrs. Pryor, ' I would leave to you : 
you should be provided for, but never again say I am too 
kind. You pierce my heart, child ! ' 

' But, my dear madam this generosity I have no 
claim ' 

' Hush ! you must not talk about it : there are some 
things we cannot bear to hear. Oh ! it is late to begin, 
but I may yet live a few years : I can never wipe out the 
pant, but perhaps a brief space in the future may yet be 
mine ! ' 

Mrs. Pryor seemed deeply agitated : large tears trembled 
in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. Caroline kissed her, 
in her gentle caressing way, saying softly ' I love you 
dearly. Don't cry.' 

But the lady's whole frame seemed shaken : she sat down, 
bent her head to her knee, and wept aloud. Nothing could 


console her till the inward storm had had its way. At last 
the agony subsided of itself. 

' Poor thing ! ' she murmured, returning Caroline's kiss : 
' poor lonely lamb ! But come,' she added abruptly ; ' come, 
we must go home.' 

For a short distance Mrs. Pryor walked very fast : by 
degrees, however, she calmed down to her wonted manner, 
fell into her usual characteristic pace a peculiar one, like 
all her movements and by the time they reached Fieldhead, 
she had re-entered into herself : the outside was, as usual, 
still and shy. 



ONLY half of Moore's activity and resolution had been seen 
in his defence of the mill : he showed the other half (and a 
terrible half it was) in the indefatigable, the relentless 
assiduity with which he pursued the leaders of the riot. The 
mob, the mere followers, he let alone : perhaps an innate 
sense of justice told him that men misled by false counsel, 
goaded by privations, are not fit objects of vengeance, and 
that he who would visit an even violent act on the bent head 
of suffering, is a tyrant, not a judge. At all events, though 
he knew many of the number, having recognised them during 
the latter part of the attack when day began to dawn, he let 
them daily pass him on street and road without notice or 

The leaders he did not know. They were strangers : 
emissaries from the large towns. Most of them were not 
members of the operative class : they were chiefly ' down- 
draughts,' bankrupts, men always in debt and often in drink 
men who had nothing to lose, and much in the way of 
character, cash, and cleanliness to gain. These persons 
Moore hunted like any sleuth-hound ; and well he liked the 
occupation : its excitement was of a kind pleasant to his 
nature : he liked it better than making cloth. 

His horse must have hated these times, for it was ridden 
both hard and often : he almost lived on the road, and the 
fresh air was as welcome to his lungs as the policeman's 
quest to his mood : he preferred it to the steam of dye- 
houses. The magistrates of the district must have dreaded 
him : they were slow, timid men ; he liked both to frighten 


and to rouse them. He liked to force them to betray a 
certain fear, which made them alike falter in resolve and 
recoil in action the fear, simply, of assassination. This, 
indeed, was the dread which had hitherto hampered every 
manufacturer and almost every public man in the district. 
Helstone alone had ever repelled it. The old Cossack knew 
well he might be shot : he knew there was risk ; but such a 
death had for his nerves no terrors : it would have been his 
chosen might he have had a choice. 

Moore likewise knew his danger : the result was an un- 
quenchable scorn of the quarter whence such danger was to 
be apprehended. The consciousness that he hunted assassins 
was the spur in his high-mettled temper's flank. As for fear, 
he was too proud too hard-natured (if you will) too 
phlegmatic a man to fear. Many a time he rode belated 
over moors, moonlit or moonless as the case might be, with 
feelings far more elate, faculties far better refreshed, than 
when safety and stagnation environed him in the counting- 
house. Four was the number of the leaders to be accounted 
for : two, in the course of a fortnight, were brought to bay 
near Stilbro' ; the remaining two it was necessaiy to seek 
further off : their haunts were supposed to lie near Birming- 

Meantime, the clothier did not neglect his battered mill : 
its reparation was esteemed a light task ; carpenters' and 
glaziers' work alone being needed. The rioters not having 
succeeded in effecting an entrance, his grim, metal darlings 
the machines had escaped damage. 

Whether, during this busy life whether, while stern 
justice and exacting business claimed his energies and 
harassed his thoughts he now and then gave one moment, 
dedicated one effort, to keep alive gentler fires than those 
which smoulder in the fane of Nemesis, it was not easy to 
discover. He seldom went near Fieldhead ; if he did, his 
visits were brief : if he called at the Rectory, it was only to 
hold conferences with the Rector in his study. He main- 
tained his rigid course very steadily. Meantime, the history 


of the year continued troubled : there was no lull in the 
tempest of war ; her long hurricane still swept the Continent. 
There was not the faintest sign of serene weather : no opening 
amid ' the clouds of battle-dust and smoke ; ' no fall of pure 
dews genial to the olive ; no cessation of the red rain which 
nourishes the baleful and glorious laurel. Meantime, Kuin 
had her sappers and miners at work under Moore's feet, 
and whether he rode or walked whether he only crossed 
his counting-house hearth, or galloped over sullen Bushedge 
he was aware of a hollow echo, and felt the ground shake 
to his tread. 

While the summer thus passed with Moore, how did it 
lapse with Shirley and Caroline ? Let us first visit the 
heiress. How does she look ? Like a love-lorn maiden, 
pale and pining for a neglectful swain ? Does she sit the 
day long bent over some sedentary task ? Has she for ever 
a book in her hand, or sewing on her knee, and eyes only for 
that, and words for nothing, and thoughts unspoken ? 

By no means. Shirley is all right. If her wistful cast 
of physiognomy is not gone, no more is her careless smile. 
She keeps her dark old manor-house light and bright with 
her cheery presence : the gallery, and the low-ceiled 
chambers that open into it, have learned lively echoes from 
her voice : the dim entrance-hall, with its one window, has 
grown pleasantly accustomed to the frequent rustle of a silk 
dress, as its wearer sweeps across from room to room, now 
carrying flowers to the barbarous peach-bloom salon, now 
entering the dining-room to open its casements and let in the 
scent of mignonette and sweetbrier, anon bringing plants 
from the staircase-window to place in the sun at the open 

She takes her sewing occasionally : but, by some fatality, 
she is doomed never to sit steadily at it for above five minutes 
at a time : her thimble is scarcely fitted on, her needle scarce 
threaded, when a sudden thought calls her up-stairs : perhaps 
she goes to seek some just-then-remembered old ivory-backed 
needle-book, or older china-topped workbox, quite unneeded, 


but which seems at the moment indispensable ; perhaps to 
arrange her hair, or a drawer which she recollects to have 
seen that morning in a state of curious confusion ; perhaps 
only to take a peep from a particular window at a particular 
view, whence Briarfield Church and Eectory are visible, 
pleasantly bowered in trees. She has scarcely returned, 
and again taken up the slip of cambric, or square of half- 
wrought canvas, when Tartar's bold scrape and strangled 
whistle are heard at the porch-door, and she must run to 
open it for him; it is a hot day; he comes in panting ; she 
must convoy him to the kitchen, and see with her own eyes 
that his water-bowl is replenished. Through the open 
kitchen-door the court is visible, all sunny and gay, and 
peopled with turkeys and their poults, peahens and their 
chicks, pearl-flecked guinea-fowls, and a bright variety of 
pure white, and purple-necked, and blue and cinnamon- 
plumed pigeons. Irresistible spectacle to Shirley ! She 
runs to the pantry for a roll, and she stands on the doorstep 
scattering crumbs : around her throng her eager, plump, 
happy, feathered vassals. John is about the stables, and 
John must be talked to, and her mare looked at. She is 
still petting and patting it, when the cows came in to be 
milked : this is important ; Shirley must stay and take a 
review of them all. There are perhaps some little calves, 
some little new-yeaned lambs it may be twins, whose 
mothers have rejected them : Miss Keeldar must be intro- 
duced to them by John must permit herself the treat of 
feeding them with her own hand, under the direction of her 
careful foreman. Meantime, John moots doubtful questions 
about the farming of certain ' crofts,' and ' ings,' and ' holms,' 
and his mistress is necessitated to fetch her garden-hat a 
gipsy-straw and accompany him, over stile and along 
hedge-row, to hear the conclusion of the whole agricultural 
matter on the spot, and with the said ' crofts,' ' ings,' and 
' holms ' under her eye. Bright afternoon thus wears into 
soft evening, and she comes home to a late tea, and after 
tea she never sews. 


After tea Shirley reads, and she is just about as tenacious 
of her book as she is lax of her needle. Her study is the 
rug, her seat a footstool, or perhaps only the carpet at Mrs. 
Pryor's feet there she always learned her lessons when a 
child, and old habits have a strong power over her. The 
tawny and lion-like bulk of Tartar is ever stretched beside 
her ; his negro muzzle laid on his fore paws, straight, strong, 
and shapely as the limbs of an Alpine wolf. One hand of 
the mistress generally reposes on the loving sei'f's rude 
head, because if she takes it away he groans and is dis- 
contented. Shirley's mind is given to her book ; she lifts 
not her eyes ; she neither stirs nor speaks ; unless, indeed, 
it be to return a brief respectful answer to Mrs. Pryor, who 
addresses deprecatory phrases to her now and then. 

4 My dear, you had better not have that great dog so near 
you : he is crushing the border of your dress.' 

' Oh, it is only muslin : I can put a clean one on to- 

' My dear, I wish you could acquire the habit of sitting 
to a table when you read.' 

4 1 will try, ma'am, some time ; but it is so comfortable 
to do as one has always been accustomed to do.' 

' My dear, let me beg of you to put that book down : you 
are trying your eyes by the doubtful firelight.' 

4 No, ma'am, not at all : my eyes are never tired.' 

At last, however, a pale light falls on the page from the 
window : she looks, the moon is up ; she closes the volume, 
rises, and walks through the room. Her book has perhaps 
been a good one ; it has refreshed, refilled, re warmed her 
heart ; it has set her brain astir, furnished her mind with 
pictures. The still parlour, the clean hearth, the window 
opening on the twilight sky, and showing its ' sweet regent,' 
new throned and glorious, suffice to make earth an Eden, 
life a poem, for Shirley. A still, deep, inborn delight glows in 
her young veins ; unmingled untroubled ; not to be reached 
or ravished by human agency, because by no human agency 
bestowed : the pure gift of God to His creature, the free 


dower of Nature to her child. This joy gives her experience 
of a genii-life. Buoyant, by green steps, by glad hills, all 
verdure and light, she reaches a station scarcely lower than 
that whence angels looked down on the dreamer of Beth-el, 
and her eye seeks, and her soul possesses, the vision of life 
as she wishes it. No not as she wishes it ; she has not 
time to wish : the swift glory spreads out, sweeping and 
kindling, and multiplies its splendours faster than Thought 
can effect his combinations, faster than Aspiration can utter 
her longings. Shirley says nothing while the trance is upon 
her she is quite mute ; but if Mrs. Pry or speaks to her now, 
she goes out quietly, and continues her walk up-stairs in the 
dim gallery. 

If Shirley were not an indolent, a reckless, an ignorant 
being, she would take a pen at such moments ; or at least 
while the recollection of such moments was yet fresh on her 
spirit : she would seize, she would fix the apparition, tell the 
vision revealed. Had she a little more of the organ of 
acquisitiveness in her head a little more of the love of 
property in her nature, she would take a good-sized sheet 
of paper and write plainly out, in her own queer but clear 
and legible hand, the story that has been narrated, the song 
that has been sung to her, and thus possess what she was 
enabled to create. But indolent she is, reckless she is, and 
most ignorant, for she does not know her dreams are rare 
her feelings peculiar: she does not know, has never known, 
and will die without knowing, the full value of that spring 
whose bright fresh bubbling in her heart keeps it green. 

Shirley takes life easily : is not that fact written in her 
eye ? In her good-tempered moments, is it not as full of 
la/y softness as in her brief fits of anger it is fulgent with 
quick-flashing fire ? Her nature is in her eye : so long as 
she is calm, indolence, indulgence, humour, and tenderness 
possess that large gray sphere : incense her, a red ray 
pierces the dew, it quickens instantly to flame. 

Ere the month of July was passed, Miss Keeldar would 
probably have started with Caroline on that northern tour 


they had planned ; but just at that epoch an invasion befell 
Fieldhead : a genteel foraging party besieged Shirley in her 
castle, and compelled her to surrender at discretion. An 
uncle, an aunt, and two cousins from the south, a Mr., Mrs., 

and two Misses Sympson, of Sympson Grove, shire, 

came down upon her in state. The laws of hospitality 
obliged her to give in, which she did with a facility which 
somewhat surprised Caroline, who knew her to be prompt 
in action and fertile in expedient, where a victory was to be 
gained for her will. Miss Helstone even asked her how it 
was she submitted so readily ? she answered, old feelings 
had their power : she had passed two years of her early 
youth at Sympson Grove. 

' How did she like her relatives ? ' 

She had nothing in common with them, she replied : 
little Harry Sympson, indeed, the sole son of the family, 
was very unlike his sisters, and of him she had formerly 
been fond ; but he was not coming to Yorkshire : at least, 
not yet. 

The next Sunday the Fieldhead pew in Briarfield church 
appeared peopled with a prim, trim, fidgety, elderly gentle- 
man, who shifted his spectacles and changed his position 
every three minutes ; a patient, placid-looking elderly lady, 
in brown satin, and two pattern young ladies, in pattern 
attire, with pattern deportment. Shirley had the air of a 
black swan, or a white crow, in the midst of this party ; and 
very forlorn was her aspect. Having brought her into 
respectable society, we will leave her there awhile, and look 
after Miss Helstone. 

Separated from Miss Keeldar for the present, as she 
could not seek her in the midst of her fine relatives ; scaredj 
away from Fieldhead by the visiting commotion which the 
new arrivals occasioned in the neighbourhood, Caroline was 
limited once more to the gray Rectory ; the solitary morning 
walk in remote bypaths, the long, lonely afternoon sitting in 
a quiet parlour which the sun forsook at noon, or in the 
garden alcove where it shone bright, yet sad, on the ripening 

400 SHIELEi 

red currants trained over the trellis, and on the fair monthly 
roses entwined between, and through them fell chequered on 
Caroline sitting in her white summer dress, still as a garden 
statue. There she read old books, taken from her uncle's 
library : the Greek and Latin were of no use to her ; and its 
collection of light literature was chiefly contained on a shelf 
which had belonged to her aunt Mary : some venerable 
Lady's Magazines, that had once performed a sea-voyago 
with their owner, and undergone a sfcorm, and whose pages 
were stained with salt water ; some mad Methodist Maga- 
zines, full of miracles and apparitions, of preternatural 
warnings, ominous dreams, and frenzied fanaticism ; the 
equally mad letters of Mrs. Elizabeth Rowe from the Dead 
to the Living ; a few old English Classics : from these 
faded flowers Caroline had in her childhood extracted the 
honey, they were tasteless to her now. By way of change, 
and also of doing good, she would sew : make garments for 
the poor, according to good Miss Ainley's direction. Some- 
times as she felt and saw her tears fall slowly on her work, 
she would wonder how the excellent woman who had cut it 
out and arranged it for her, managed to be so equably serene 
in her solitude. 

' I never find Miss Ainley oppressed with despondency, 
or lost in grief,' she thought ; ' yet her cottage is a still, dim 
little place, and she is without a bright hope or near friend 
in the world. I remember, though, she told me once, she 
had tutored her thoughts to tend upwards to Heaven. She 
allowed there was, and ever ha'l been, little enjoyment in 
this world for her, and she looks, I suppose, to the bliss of 
the world to come. So do nuns with their close cell, their 
iron lamp, their robe straight as a shroud, their bed 
narrow as a coffin. She says, often, she has no fear of death 
no dread of the grave : no more, doubtless, had St. Simeon 
Stylites, lifted up terrible on his wild column in the wilder- 
ness : no more has the Hindoo votary stretched on his 
couch of iron spikes. Both these having violated nature, 
their natural likinga and antipathies are reversed: they 


grow altogether morbid. I do fear death as yet, but I 
believe it is because I am young : poor Miss Ainley would 
cling closer to life, if life had more charms for her. God 
surely did not create us, and cause us to Jive, with the sole 
end of wishing always to die. I believe in my heart we 
were intended to prize life and enjoy it, so long as we retain 
it. Existence never was originally meant to be that useless, 
blank, pale, slow-trailing thing it often becomes to many, 
and is becoming to me among the rest. 

' Nobody,' she went on ' nobody in particular is to 
blame, that I can see, for the state in which things are : 
and I cannot tell, however much I puzzle over it, how they 
are to be altered for the better ; but I feel there is something 
wrong somewhere. I believe single women should have 
more to do better chances of interesting and profitable 
occupation than they possess now. And when I speak thus, 
I have no impression that I displease God by my words : 
that I am either impious or impatient, irreligious or sacri- 
legious. My consolation is, indeed, that God hears many a 
groan, and compassionates much grief which man stops his 
ears against, or frowns on with impotent contempt. I say 
impotent, for I observe that to such grievances as society 
cannot readily cure, it usually forbids utterance, on pain of 
its scorn : this scorn being only a sort of tinselled cloak to 
its deformed weakness. People hate to be reminded of ills 
they are unable or unwilling to remedy : such reminder, in 
forcing on them a sense of their own incapacity, or a more 
painful sense of an obligation to make some unpleasant 
effort, troubles their ease and shakes their self-complacency. 
Old maids, like the houseless and unemployed poor, should 
not ask for a place and an occupation in the world : the 
demand disturbs the happy and rich : it di.sturbs parents. 
Look at the numerous families of girls in this neighbour- 
hood : the Armitages, the Birtwhisties, the Sykeses. The 
brothers of these girls are every one in business or in pro- 
fessions ; they have something to do: their sisters have 
no earthly employment, but household work and sewing; 


no earthly pleasure, but an unprofitable visiting ; and no 
hope, in all their life to come, of anything better. This 
stagnant state of things makes them decline in health : they 
are never well ; and their minds and views shrink to wondrous 
narrowness. The great wish the sole aim of every one of 
them is to be married, but the majority will never marry : 
they will die as they now live. They scheme, they plot, 
they dress to ensnare husbands. The gentlemen turn them 
into ridicule : they don't want them ; they hold them very 
cheap : they say I have heard them say it with sneering 
laughs many a time the matrimonial market is overstocked. 
Fathers say so likewise, and are angry with their daughters 
when they observe their manoeuvres : they order them to 
stay at home. What do they expect them to do at home ? 
If you ask, they would answer, sew and cook. They expect 
them to do this, and this only, contentedly, regularly, 
uncomplainingly all their lives long, as if they had no germs 
of faculties for anything else : a doctrine as reasonable to 
hold, as it would be that the fathers have no faculties but 
for eating what their daughters cook, or for wearing what 
they sew. Could men live so themselves ? Would they not 
be very weary ? And, when there came no relief to their 
weariness, but only reproaches at its slightest manifesta- 
tion, would not their weariness ferment in time to frenzy. 
Lucretia, spinning at midnight in the midst of her maidens, 
and Solomon's virtuous woman, are often quoted as patterns 
of what " the sex " (as they say) ought to be. I don't know : 
Lucretia, I daresay, was a most worthy sort of person, much 
like my cousin Hortense Moore ; but she kept her servants 
up very late. I should not have liked to be amongst the 
number of the maidens. Hortense would just work me and 
Sarah in that fashion, if she could, and neither of us would 
bear it. The " virtuous woman," again, had her household 
up in the very middle of the night ; she " got breakfast 
over " (as Mrs. Sykes says) before one o'clock A.M. ; but she 
had something more to do than spin and give out portions : 
she was a manufacturer- she made fine linen and sold it : 


she was an agriculturist she bought estates and planted 
vineyards. That woman was a manager : she was what the 
matrons hereabouts call " a clever woman." On the whole, 
I like her a good deal better than Lucretia; but I don't 
believe either Mr. Armitage or Mr. Sykes could have got 
the advantage of her in a bargain : yet I like her. " Strength 
and honour wei'e her clothing : the heart of her husband 
safely trusted in her. She opened her mouth with wisdom ; 
in her tongue was the law of kindness : her children rose up 
and called her blessed; her husband also praised her.'' 
King of Israel ! your model of a woman is a worthy model ! 
But are we, in these days, brought up to be like her ? Men 
of Yorkshire ! do your daughters reach this royal standard ? 
Can they reach it ? Can you help them to reach it ? Can 
you give them a field in which their faculties may be 
exercised and grow ? Men of England ! look at your poor 
girls, many of them fading around you, dropping off in con- 
sumption or decline ; or, what is worse, degenerating to 
sour old maids, envious, backbiting, wretched, because life 
is a desert to them; or, what is worst of all, reduced to 
strive, by scarce modest coquetry and debasing artifice, to 
gain that position and consideration by marriage, which to 
celibacy is denied. Fathers ! cannot you alter these things ? 
Perhaps not all at once ; but consider the matter well when 
it is brought before you, receive it as a theme worthy of 
thought : do not dismiss it with an idle jest or an unmanly 
insult. You would wish to be proud of your daughters and 
not to blush for them then seek for them an interest and 
an occupation which shall raise them above the flirt, the 
manoeuvrer, the mischief-making tale-bearer. Keep your 
girls' minds narrow and fettered they will still be a plague 
and a care, sometimes a disgrace to you : cultivate them - 
give them scope and work they will be your gayest com- 
panions in health ; your tenderest nurses in sickness ; your 
most faithful props in age.' 



ONE fine summer day that Caroline had spent entirely alone 
(her uncle being at Whinbury), and whose long, bright, 
noiseless, breezeless, cloudless hours (how many they 
seemed since sunrise !) had been to her as desolate as if 
they had gone over her head in the shadowless and trackless 
wastes of Zahara, instead of in the blooming garden of an 
English home, she was sitting in the alcove, her task of 
work on her knee, her fingers assiduously plying the needle, 
her eyes following and regulating their movements, her 
brain working restlessly, when Fanny came to the door, 
looked round over the lawn and borders, and not seeing her 
whom she sought, called out, ' Miss Caroline ! ' 

A low voice answered ' Fanny 1 ' It issued from the 
alcove, and thither Fanny hastened a note in her hand, 
which she delivered to fingers that hardly seemed to have 
nerve to hold it. Miss Helstone did not ask whence it came, 
and she did not look at it : she let it drop amongst the folds 
of her work. 

' Joe Scott's son, Harry, brought it,' said Fanny. 

The girl was no enchantress, and knew no magic-spell, 
yet what she said took almost magical effect on her young 
mistress : she lifted her head with the quick motion of revived 
sensation ; she shot not a languid, but a life-like, question- 
ing glance at Fanny. 

' Hariy Scott ! Who sent him ? ' 

1 He came from the Hollow.' 


The dropped note was snatched up eagerly the seal 
was broken : it was read in two seconds. An affectionate 
billet from Hortense, informing her young cousin that she 
was returned from Wormwood Wells ; that she was alone 
to-day, as Kobert was gone to Whinbury market; that 
nothing would give her greater pleasure than to have 
Caroline's company to tea ; and the good lady added she 
was sure such a change would be most acceptable and 
beneficial to Caroline, who must be sadly at a loss both for 
safe guidance and improving society since the misunder- 
standing between Kobert and Mr. Helstone had occasioned 
a separation from her ' meilleure amie, Hortense Gerard 
Moore.' In a postscript, she was urged to put on her bonnet 
and run down directly. 

Caroline did not need the injunction : glad was she to 
lay by the child's brown holland slip she was trimming with 
braid for the Jews' basket, to hasten up-stairs, cover her 
curls with her straw bonnet, and throw round her shoulders 
the black silk scarf, whose simple drapery suited as well her 
shape as its dark hue set off the purity of her dress and the 
fairness of her face ; glad was she to escape for a few hours 
the solitude, the sadness, the nightmare of her life ; glad to 
run down the green lane sloping to the Hollow, to scent the 
fragrance of hedge-flowers sweeter than the perfume of moss- 
rose or lily. True, she knew Robert was not at the cottage ; 
but it was delight to go where he had lately been : so long, 
so totally separated from him, merely to see his home, to 
enter the room where he had that morning sat, felt like a 
reunion. As such it revived her; and then Illusion was 
again following her in Perimask : the soft agitation of wings 
caressed her cheek, and the air, breathing from the blue 
summer sky, bore a voice which whispered ' Eobert may 
come home while you are in his house ; and then, at least, 
you may look in his face at least, you may give him your 
hand ; perhaps, for a minute, you may sit beside him.' 

' Silence ! ' was her austere response : but she loved the 
comforter and the consolation. 


Miss Moore probably caught from the window the gleam 
and flutter of Caroline's white attire through the branchy 
garden-shrubs, for she advanced from the cottage-porch to 
meet her. Straight, unbending, phlegmatic as usual, she 
came on : no haste or ecstacy was ever permitted to disorder 
the dignity of Jicr movements ; but she smiled, well pleased 
to mark the delight of her pupil, to feel her kiss, and the 
gentle, genial strain of her embrace. She led her tenderly 
in half deceived and wholly flattered. Half deceived ! had 
it not been so, she would in all probability have put her to 
the wicket, and shut her out. Had she known clearly to 
whose account the chief share of this child-like joy was to be 
placed, Hortense would most likely have felt both shocked 
and incensed. Sisters do not like young ladies to fall in 
love with their brothers : it seems, if not presumptuous, 
silly, weak, a delusion, an absurd mistake. TJiey do not 
love these gentlemen whatever sisterly affection they may 
cherish towards them and that others should, repels them 
with a sense of crude romance. The first movement, in 
short, excited by such discovery (as with many parents on 
finding their children to be in love), is one of mixed 
impatience and contempt. Eeason if they be rational 
people corrects the false feeling in time ; but if they be 
irrational, it is never corrected, and the daughter or sister- 
in-law is disliked to the end. 

' You would expect to find me alone, from what I said in 
my note,' observed Miss Moore, as she conducted Caroline 
towards the parlour ; but it was written this morning : since 
dinner, company has come in.' 

And, opening the door, she made visible an ample spread 
of crimson skirts overflowing the elbow-chair at the fireside, 
and above them, presiding with dignity, a cap more awful 
than a crown. That cap had never come to the cottage 
under a bonnet : no, it had been brought, in a vast bag, 
or rather a middle-sized balloon of black silk, held wide 
with whalebone. Tbe screed, or frill of the cap, stood a 
quarter of a yard broad round the face of the wearer : the 


ribbon, flourishing in puffs and bows about the head, was of 
the sort called love-ribbon : there was a good deal of it, I 
may say, a very great deal. Mrs. Yorke wore the cap it 
became her : she wore the gown also it suited her no less. 
That great lady was come in a friendly way to take tea 
with Miss Moore. It was almost as great and as rare a 
favour as if the Queen were to go uninvited to share pot-luck 
with one of her subjects : a higher mark of distinction she 
could not show, she who, in general, scorned visiting and 
tea-drinking, and held cheap, and stigmatised as ' gossips,' 
every maid and matron of the vicinage. 

There was no mistake, however ; Miss Moore was a 
favourite with her : she had evinced the fact more than 
once ; evinced it by stopping to speak to her in the church- 
yard on Sundays ; by inviting her, almost hospitably, to 
come to Briarmains ; evinced it to-day by the grand conde- 
scension of a personal visit. Her reasons for the preference, 
as assigned by herself, were, that Miss Moore was a 
woman of steady deportment, without the least levity of 
conversation or carriage ; also, that, being a foreigner, she 
must feel the want of a friend to countenance her. She 
might have added, that her plain aspect, homely precise 
dress, and phlegmatic unattractive manner were, to her, 
so many additional recommendations. It is certain, at 
least, that ladies remarkable for the opposite qualities of 
beauty, lively bearing, and elegant taste in attire, were not 
often favoured with her approbation. Whatever gentlemen 
are apt to admire in women, Mrs. Yorke condemned ; and 
what they overlook or despise, she patronised. 

Caroline advanced to the mighty matron with some 
sense of diffidence : she knew little of Mrs. Yorke ; and, as 
a parson's niece, was doubtful what sort of a reception she 
might get. She got a very cool one, and was glad to hide 
her discomfiture by turning away to take off her bonnet. 
Nor, upon sitting down, was she displeased to be im- 
mediately accosted by a little personage in a blue frock and 
sash, who started up like some fairy from the side of the 


great dame's chair, where she had been sitting on a foot- 
stool, screened from view by the folds of the wide red gown, 
and running to Miss Helstone, unceremoniously threw her 
arms round her neck and demanded a kiss. 

1 My mother is not civil to you,' said the petitioner, as 
she received and repaid a smiling salute ; ' and Rose, there, 
takes no notice of you : it is their way. If, instead of you, 
a white angel, with a crown of stars, had come into the 
room, mother would nod stiffly, and Rose never lift her 
head at all ; but I will be your friend : I have always liked 
you ! ' 

' Jessie, curb that tongue of yours, and repress your 
forwardness ! ' said Mrs. Yorke. 

' But, mother, you are so frozen ! ' expostulated Jessie. 
' Miss Helstone has never done you any harm : why can't 
you be kind to her ? You sit so stiff, and look so cold, and 
speak so dry what for ? That's just the fashion in which 
you treat Miss Shirley Keeldar, and every other young lady 
who comes to our house. And Rose, there, is such an aut 

aut I have forgotten the word, but it means a machine 

in the shape of a human being. However, between you, you 
will drive every soul away from Briarmains Martin often 
says so ! ' 

' I am an automaton ? Good ! Let me alone then,' said 
Rose, speaking from a corner where she was sitting on the 
carpet at the foot of a bookcase, with a volume spread open 
on her knee. ' Miss Helstone how do you do ? ' she added, 
directing a brief glance to the person addressed, and then 
again casting down her gray, remarkable eyes on the book, 
and returning to the study of its pages. 

Caroline stole a quiet gaze towards her, dwelling on her 
young, absorbed countenance, and observing a certain 
unconscious movement of the mouth as she read a move- 
ment full of character. Caroline had tact, and she had fine 
instinct : she felt that Rose Yorke was a peculiar child- -one 
of the unique ; she knew how to treat her. Approaching 
quietly, she knelt on the carpet at her side, and looked over 


her little shoulder at her book. It was a romance of Mrs. 
Radcliffe's The Italian. 

Caroline read on with her, making no remark : presently 
Kose showed her the attention of asking, ere she turned a 
leaf ' Are you ready ? ' 

Caroline only nodded. 

' Do you like it ? ' inquired Rose, erelong. 

' Long since, when I read it as a child, I was wonderfully 
taken with it.' 

' Why ? ' 

' It seemed to open with such promise such foreboding 
of a most strange tale to be unfolded.' 

' And in reading it, you feel as if you were far away from 
England really in Italy under another sort of sky that 
blue sky of the south which travellers describe.' 

' You are sensible of that, Eose ? ' 

' It makes me long to travel, Miss Helstone.' 

' When you are a woman, perhaps, you may be able to 
gratify your wish.' 

' I mean to make a way to do so, if one is not made for 
mo. I cannot live always in Briarfield. The whole world 
is not very large compared with creation : I must see the 
outside of our own round planet at least.' 

' How much of its outside ? ' 

' First this hemisphere where we live ; then the other. 
I am resolved that my life shall bo a life : not a black trance 
like the toad's, buried in marble ; nor a long, slow death like 
yours in Briarfield Rectory.' 

' Like mine ! What can you mean, child ? ' 

' Might you not as well be tediously dying, as for ever 
shut up in that glebe-house- a place that, when I pass it, 
always reminds me of a windowed grave ? I never see any 
movement about the door : I never hear a sound from tho 
wall : I believe smoke never issues from the chimneys. 
What do you do there ? ' 

' I sew, I road, I learn lessons.' 

' Are you happy ? ' 


' Should I be happier wandering alone in strange countries 
as you wish to do ? ' 

' Much happier, even if you did nothing but wander. 
Remember, however, that I shall have an object in view : 
but if you only went on and on, like some enchanted lady in 
a fairy tale, you might be happier than now. In a day's 
wandering, you would pass many a hill, wood, and water- 
course, each perpetually altering in aspect as the sun shone 
out or was overcast ; as the weather was wet or fair, dark 
or bright. Nothing changes in Briarfield Rectory : the 
plaster of the parlour-ceilings, the paper on the walls, the 
curtains, carpets, chairs, are still the same.' 

' Is change necessary to happiness ? ' 

' Yes.' 

I Is it synonymous with it ? ' 

I 1 don't know ; but I feel monotony and death to be 
almost the same.' 

Here Jessie spoke. 

' Isn't she mad ? ' she asked. 

' But, Rose,' pursued Caroline, ' I fear a wanderer's life, 
for me at least, would end like that tale you are reading in 
disappointment, vanity, and vexation of spirit.' 

1 Does TJie Italian so end ? ' 

' 1 thought so when I read it." 

' Better to try all things and find all empty, than to try 
nothing and leave your life a blank. To do this is to 
commit the sin of him who buried his talent in a napkin 
despicable sluggard ! ' 

'Rose,' observed Mrs. Yorke, ' solid satisfaction is only to 
be realized by doing one's duty.' 

' Right, mother ! And if my Master has given me ten 
talents, my duty is to trade with them, and make them ten 
talents more. Not in the dust of household drawers shall 
the coin be interred. I will not deposit it in a broken -spouted 
teapot, and shut it up in a china-closet among tea-things. 
I \vill not commit it to your work-table to be smothered in 
piles of woollen hose. I will not prison it in the linen-press 


to find shrouds among the sheets : and least of all, mother ' 
(she got up from the floor) ' least of all will I hide it in a 
tureen of cold potatoes, to be ranged with bread, butter, 
pastry, and ham on the shelves of the larder.' 

She stopped then went on : ' Mother, the Lord who 
gave each of us our talents will come home some day, and 
will demand from all an account. The teapot, the old 
stocking-foot, the linen rag, the willow-pattern tureen, will 
yield up their barren deposit in many a house : suffer your 
daughters, at least, to put their money to the exchangers, that 
they may be enabled at the Master's coming to pay him his 
own with usury.' 

' Rose, did you bring your sampler with you, as I told 

' Yes, mother.' 

' Sit down, and do a line of marking.' 

Rose sat down promptly, and wrought according to orders. 
After a busy pause of ten minutes, her mother asked ' Do 
you think yourself oppressed now ? A victim ? ' 

1 No, mother.' 

1 Yet, as far as I understand your tirade, it was a protest 
against all womanly and domestic employment.' 

' You misunderstood it, mother. I should be sorry not 
to learn to sew : you do right to teach me, and to make me 

1 Even to the mending of your brother's stockings and the 
making of sheets.' 

' Yes.' 

1 Where is the use of ranting and spouting about it 
then ? ' 

' Am I to do nothing but that ? I will do that, and then I 
will do more. Now, mother, I have said my say. I am 
twelve years old at present, and not till I am sixteen will I 
speak again about talents : for four years, I bind myself an 
industrious apprentice to all you can teach me.' 

' You see what my daughters are, Miss Helstone,' observed 
Mrs. Yorke : ' how precociously wise in their own conceits ! 


" I would rather this I prefer that ; " such is Jessie's cuckoo 
song : while Rose utters the bolder cry, " I will, and I will 
not ! " 

' I render a reason, mother : besides, if my cry is bold, it 
is only heard once in a twelvemonth. About each birthday, 
the spirit moves me to deliver one oracle respecting my own 
instruction and management : I utter it and leave it ; it is 
for you, mother, to listen or not.' 

' I would advise all young ladies,' pursued Mrs. Yorke, ' to 
study the characters of such children as they chance to meet 
with, before they marry, and have any of their own ; to 
consider well how they would like the responsibility of guid- 
ing the careless, the labour of persuading the stubborn, the 
constant burden and task of training the best.' 

' But with love it need not be so very difficult,' inter- 
posed Caroline. ' Mothers love their children most dearly 
almost better than they love themselves.' 

' Fine talk ! Very sentimental ! There is the rough, 
practical part of life yet to come for you, young Miss I ' 

' But, Mrs. Yorke, if I take a little baby into my arms 
any poor woman's infant for instance, I feel that I love that 
helpless thing quite peculiarly, though I am not its mother. 
I could do almost anything for it willingly, if it were de- 
livered over entirely to my care if it were quite dependent 
on me.' 

' You feel ! Yes ! yes ! I daresay, now : you are led a 
great deal by your feelings, and you think yourself a very 
sensitive, refined personage, no doubt. Are you aware that, 
with all these romantic ideas, you have managed to train 
your features into an habitually lackadaisical expression, 
better suited to a novel-heroine than to a woman who is to 
make her way in the real world, by dint of common sense ? ' 

' No ; I am not at all aware of that, Mrs. Yorke.' 

' Look in the glass just behind you. Compare the face 
you soe there with that of any early-rising, hard-working 

' My face is a pale one, but it is not sentimental, and most 


milkmaids, however red and robust they may be, are 
more stupid and less practically fitted to make their way in 
the world than I am. I think more and more correctly 
than milkmaids in general do; consequently, where they 
would often, for want of reflection, act weakly, I, by dint of 
reflection, should act judiciously.' 

' Oh, no ! you would be influenced by your feelings. You 
would be guided by impulse.' 

' Of course, I should often be influenced by my feelings : 
they were given me to that end. Whom my feelings teach 
me to love, I must and shall love ; and I hope, if ever I have 
a husband and children, my feelings will induce me to love 
them. I hope, in that case, all my impulses will be strong 
in compelling me to love.' 

Caroline had a pleasure in saying this with emphasis : 
she had a pleasure in daring to say it in Mrs. Yorke's presence. 
She did not care what unjust sarcasm might be hurled at her 
in reply : she flushed, not with anger, but excitement, when 
the ungenial matron answered, coolly, ' Don't waste your 
dramatic effects. That was well said, it was quite fine ; but 
it is lost on two women an old wife and an old maid : there 
should have been a disengaged gentleman present. Is Mr. 
Eobert nowhere hid behind the curtains, do you think Miss 

Hortense, who during the chief part of the conversa- 
tion had been in the kitchen superintending the preparations 
for tea, did not yet quite comprehend the drift of the dis- 
course. She answered, with a puzzled air, that Robert was 
at Whinbury. Mrs. Yorke laughed her own peculiar short 

'Straightforward Miss Moore!' said she patronizingly. 
1 It is like you to understand my question so literally, and 
answer it so simply. Your mind comprehends nothing of 
intrigue. Strange things might go on around you without 
your being the wiser : you are not of the class the world calls 

These equivocal compliments did not seem to please 


Hortense. She drew herself up, puckered her black eyebrows, 
but still looked puzzled. 

' I have ever been noted for sagacity and discernment from 
childhood,' she returned : for, indeed, on the possession of 
these qualities, she peculiarly piqued herself. 

' You never plotted to win a husband, I'll be bound,' 
pursued Mrs. Yorke ; and you have not the benefit of pre- 
vious experience to aid you in discovering when others plot.' 

Caroline felt this kind language where the benevolent 
speaker intended she should feel it in her very heart. She 
could not even parry the shafts : she was defenceless for the 
present : to answer would have been to avow that the cap 
fitted. Mrs. Yorke, looking at her as she sat with troubled 
downcast eyes, and cheek burning painfully, and figure 
expressing in its bent attitude and unconscious tremor all the 
humiliation and chagrin she experienced, felt the sufferer 
was fair game. The strange woman had a natural antipathy 
to a shrinking, sensitive character a nervous temperament : 
nor was a pretty, delicate, and youthful face a passport to her 
affections. It was seldom she met with all these obnoxious 
qualities combined in one individual : still more seldom she 
found that individual at her mercy, under circumstances in 
which she could crush her well. She happened, this after- 
noon, to be specially bilious and morose : as much disposed 
to gore as any vicious " mother of the herd : " lowering her 
large hrad, she made a new charge. 

'Your cousin Hortense is an excellent sister, Miss Hol- 
s' one: such ladies as come to try their life's luck here, at 
Hollow's cottage, may, by a very little clever female artifice, 
cajole the mistress of the house, and have the game all in 
their own hands. You are fond of your cousin's society, I 
dare say, Miss ? ' 

1 Of which cousin's ? ' 

'Oh, of t.he lady's, of course.' 

1 Hortense is, and always has been, most kind to me.' 

' Every sister, with an eligible single brother, is considered 
most kind by her spinster friends.' 


' Mrs. Yorke,' said Caroline, lifting her eyes slowly, their 
blue orbs at the same time clearing from trouble, and shining 
steady and full, while the glow of shame left her cheek, and 
its hue turned pale and settled : Mrs. Yorke, may I ask what 
you mean ? ' 

' To give you a lesson on the cultivation of rectitude : to 
disgust you with craft and false sentiment.' 
1 Do I need this lesson ? ' 

1 Most young ladies of the present day need it. You are 
quite a modern young lady morbid, delicate, professing to 
like retirement ; which implies, I suppose, that you find little 
worthy of your sympathies in the ordinary world. The 
ordinary world every-day, honest folks are better than you 
think them : much better than any bookish, romancing chit 
of a girl can be, who hardly ever puts her nose over her uncle, 
the parson's, garden-wall.' 

' Consequently, of whom you know nothing. Excuse 
me, indeed, it does not matter whether you excuse me or 
not you have attacked me without provocation : I shall 
defend myself witl.out apology. Of my relations with my 
two cousins, you are ignorant : in a fit of ill-humour you 
have attempted to poison them by gratuitous insinuations, 
which are far more crafty and false than anything with 
which you can justly charge me. That I happen to be pale, 
and sometimes to look diffident, is no business of yours. 
That I am fond of books, and indisposed for common gossip, 
is still less your business. That I am a " romancing chit of 
a girl," is a mere conjecture on your part : I never romanced 
to you, nor to anybody you know. That I am the parson's 
niece is not a crime, though you may be narrow-minded 
enough to think it so. You dislike me : you have no just 
reason for disliking me ; therefore keep the expression of 
your aversion to yourself. If at any time, in future, you 
evince it annoyingly, I shall answer even less scrupulously 
than I have done now.' 

She ceased, and sat in white and still excitement. She 
had spoken in the clearest of tones, neither fast nor loud ; 


but her silver accents thrilled the ear. The speed of the 
current in her veins was just then as swift as it was 

Mrs. Yorke was not irritated at the reproof, worded with 
a severity so simple, dictated by a pride so quiet. Turning 
coolly to Miss Moore, she said, nodding her cap approvingly 
' She has spirit in her, after all. Always speak as 
honestly as you have done just now,' she continued, ' and 
you'll do.' 

' I repel a recommendation so offensive,' was the answer, 
delivered in the same pure key, with the same clear look, 
' I reject counsel poisoned by insinuation. It is my right to 
speak as I think proper : nothing binds me to converse as 
you dictate. So far from always speaking as I have done 
just now, I shall never address any one in a tone so stern, 
or in language so harsh, unless in answer to unprovoked 

' Mother, you have found your match,' pronounced little 
Jessie, whom the scene appeared greatly to edify. 

Eose had heard the whole with an unmoved face. She 
now said, ' No : Miss Helstone is not my mother's match 
for she allows herself to be vexed : my mother would 
wear her out in a few weeks. Shirley Keeldar manages 
better. Mother, you have never hurt Miss Keeldar's 
feelings yet. She wears armour under her silk dress that 
you cannot penetrate.' 

Mrs. Yorke often complained that her children were 
mutinous. It was strange, that with all her strictness, with 
all her ' strong-mindedness,' she could gain no command 
over them : a look from their father had more influence with 
them than a lecture from her. 

Miss Moore to whom the position of witness to an 
altercation in which she took no part was highly displeas- 
ing, as being an unimportant secondary post now, rallying 
her dignity, prepared to utter a discourse which was to 
prove both parties in the wrong, and to make it clear to 
each disputant that she had reason to be ashamed of herself, 


and ought to submit humbly to the superior sense of the 
individual then addressing her. Fortunately for her 
audience, she had not harangued above ten minutes, when 
Sarah's entrance with the tea-tray called her attention, first, 
to the fact of that damsel having a gilt comb in her hair, 
and a red necklace round her throat, and secondly, and 
subsequently to a pointed remonstrance, to the duty of 
making tea. After the meal, Rose restored her to good 
humour by bringing her guitar and asking for a song, and 
afterwards engaging her in an intelligent and sharp cross- 
examination about guitar-playing and music in general. 

Jessie, meantime, directed her assiduities to Caroline. 
Sitting on a stool at her feet, she talked to her, first 
about religion, and then about politics. Jessie was accus- 
tomed at home to drink in a great deal of what her father 
said on these subjects, and afterwards in company to retail, 
with more wit and fluency than consistency or discretion, 
his opinions, antipathies, and preferences. She rated 
Caroline soundly for being a member of the Established 
Church, and for having an uncle a clergyman. She informed 
her that she li ved on the country, and ought to work for her 
living honestly, instead of passing a useless life, and eating 
the bread of idleness in the shape of tithes. Thence Jessie 
passed to a review of the Ministry at that time in oilice, and a 
consideration of its deserts. She made familiar mention of 
the names of Lord Castlereagh and Mr. Perceval. Each of 
these personages she adorned with a character that might 
have separately suited Moloch and Belial. She denounced 
the war as wholesale murder, and Lord Wellington as a 
' hired butcher.' 

Her auditress listened with exceeding edification. Jessie 
had something of the genius of humour in her nature : it 
was inexpressibly comic to hear her repeating her sire's 
denunciations in her nervous northern Doric ; as hearty a 
little Jacobin as ever pent a free mutinous spirit in a muslin 
frock and sash. Not malignant by nature, her language 
was not so bitter as it was racy, and the expressive little 


face gave a piquancy to every phrase which held a beholder's 
interest captive. 

Caroline chid her when she abused Lord Wellington ; 
but she listened delighted to a subsequent tirade against the 
Prince Eegent. Jessie quickly read in the sparkle of her 
hearer's eye, and the laughter hovering round her lips, that 
at last she had hit on a topic that pleased. Many a time 
had she heard the fat ' Adonis of fifty ' discussed at her 
father's breakfast-table, and she now gave Mr. Yorke's 
comments on the theme genuine as uttered by his York- 
shire lips. 

But, Jessie, I will write about you no more. This is an 
autumn evening, wet and wild. There is only one cloud in 
the sky; but it curtains it from pole to pole. The wind 
cannot rest : it hurries sobbing over hills of sullen outline, 
colourless with twilight and mist. Eain has boat all day on 
that church tower : it rises dark from the stony enclosure of 
its graveyard : the nettles, the long grass, and the tombs all 
drip with wet. This evening reminds me too forcibly of 
another evening some years ago : a howling, rainy autumn 
evening too when certain who had that day performed a 
pilgrimage to a grave new-made in a heretic cemetery, sat 
near a wood-fire on the hearth of a foreign dwelling. They 
were merry and social, but they each knew that a gap, never 
to be filled, had been made in their circle. They knew they 
had lost something whose absence could never be quite 
atoned for so long as they lived : and they knew that heavy 
falling rain was soaking into the wet earth which covered 
their lost darling ; and that the sad, sighing gale was 
mourning above her buried head. The fire warmed them ; 
Life and Friendship yet blessed them ; but Jessie lay cold, 
coffined, solitary only the sod screening her from the 

Mrs. Yorke folded up her knitting, cut short the music- 
lesson and the lecture on politics, and concluded her visit to 


the cottage, at an hour early enough to ensure her return to 
Briarmains before the blush of sunset should quite have 
faded in heaven, or the path up the fields have become 
thoroughly moist with evening dew. 

The lady and her daughters being gone, Caroline felt 
that she also ought to resume her scarf, kiss her cousin's 
cheek, and trip away homeward. If she lingered much 
later, dusk would draw on, and Fanny would be put to the 
trouble of coming to fetch her : it was both baking and 
ironing-day at the Eectory, she remembered Fanny would 
be busy. Still, she could not quit her seat at the little parlour- 
window. From no point of view could the West look so 
lovely as from that lattice with the garland of jessamine 
round it, whose white stars and green leaves seemed now 
but gray pencil outlines graceful in form, but colourless in 
tint against the gold incarnadined of a summer evening 
against the fire-tinged blue of an August sky, at eight 
o'clock P.M. 

Caroline looked at the wicket-gate, beside which holly- 
hocks spired up tall ; she looked at the close hedge of privet 
and laurel fencing in the garden ; her eyes longed to see 
something more than the shrubs, before they turned from 
that limited prospect : they longed to see a human figure, 
of a certain mould and height, pass the hedge and enter the 
gate. A human figure she at last saw nay, two : Frederick 
Murgatroyd went by, carrying a pail of water ; Joe Scott 
followed, dangling on his forefinger the keys of the mill. 
They were going to lock up mill and stables for the night, 
and then betake themselves home. 

' So must I,' thought Caroline, as she half rose and 

' This is all folly- heart-breaking folly,' she added. ' In 
the first place, though I should stay till dark, there will be 
no arrival ; because I feel in my heart, Fate has written it 
down in to-day's page of her eternal book, that I am not to 
have the pleasure I long for. In the second place, if he 
stepped in this moment, my presence here would be a 



chagrin to him, and the consciousness that it must be so 
would turn half my blood to ice. His hand would, perhaps, 
be loose and chill, if I put mine into it : his eye would be 
clouded if I sought its beam. I should look up for that 
kindling something I have seen in past days, when my face, 
or my language, or my disposition had at some happy 
moment pleased him I should discover only darkness. I 
had better go home.' 

She took her bonnet from the table where it lay, and 
was just fastening the ribbon, when Hortense, directing her 
attention to a splendid bouquet of flowers in a glass on the 
same table, mentioned that Miss Keeldar had sent them 
that morning from Fieldhead ; and went on to comment on 
the guests that lady was at present entertaining, on the 
bustling life she had lately been leading ; adding divers 
conjectures that she did not very well like it, and much 
wonderment that a person who was so fond of her own way 
as the heiress, did not find some means of sooner getting rid 
of this cortege of relatives. 

' But they say she actually will not let Mr. Sympson 
and his family go,' she added : ' they wanted much to 
return to the south last week, to be ready for the reception 
of the only son, who is expected home from a tour. She 
insists that her cousin Henry shall come and join his friends 
here in Yorkshire. I daresay she partly does it to oblige 
Bobert and myself." 

' How to oblige Eobert and you ? ' inquired Caroline. 

' Why, my child, you are dull. Don't you know you 
must often have heard ' 

' Please, ma'am,' said Sarah, opening the door, ' the 
preserves that you told me to boil in treacle the congfiters, 
as you call them is all burnt to the pan.' 

' Les confitures 1 Elles sont brulees ? Ah, quelle 
negligence coupable ! Coquine de cuisiniere fille insup- 

And Mademoiselle, hastily taking from a drawer a large 
linen apron, and tying it over her black apron, rushed 


' e'perdue ' into the kitchen, whence to speak truth 
exhaled an odour of calcined sweets rather strong than 

The mistress and maid had been in full feud the whole 
day, on the subject of preserving certain black cherries, 
hard as marbles, sour as sloes. Sarah held that sugar was 
the only orthodox condiment to be used hi that process ; 
Mademoiselle maintained and proved it by the practice 
and experience of her mother, grandmother, and great- 
grandmother that treacle, ' melasse,' was infinitely prefer- 
able. She had committed an imprudence in leaving Sarah 
in charge of the preserving-pan, for her want of sympathy 
in the nature of its contents had induced a degree of care- 
lessness in watching their confection, whereof the result 
was dark and cindery ruin. Hubbub followed : high 
upbraiding, and sobs rather loud than deep or real. 

Caroline, once more turning to the little mirror, was 
shading her ringlets from her cheek to smooth them under 
her cottage bonnet, certain that it would not only be useless 
but unpleasant to stay longer ; when, on the sudden open- 
ing of the back-door, there fell an abrupt calm in the 
kitchen : the tongues were checked, pulled up as with bit 
and bridle. ' Was it \vas it Robert ? ' He often almost 
always entered by the kitchen-way on his return from 
market. No : it was only Joe Scott, who, having hemmed 
significantly thrice every hem being meant as a lofty 
rebuke to the squabbling womankind said, ' Now, I thowt 
I heerd a crack ? ' 

None answered. 

' And,' he continued, pragmatically, ' as t' maister's 
corned, and as he'll enter through this hoyle, I considered it 
desirable to step in and let ye know. A household o' 
women is nivver fit to be corned on wi'out warning. Here 
he is : walk forrard, sir. They war playing up queerly, but 
I think I've quieted 'em.' 

Another person it was now audible -entered- Joe 
Scott proceeded with his rebukes. 


' What d'ye mean by being all i' darkness ? Sarah, 
thou quean, canst t' not light a candle ? It war sundown 
an hour syne. He'll brak' his shins agean some o' yer 
pots, and tables, and stuff. Tak' tent o' this baking-bowl, 
sir ; they've set it i' yer way, fair as if they did it i' 

To Joe's observations succeeded a confused sort of 
pause, which Caroline, though she was listening with both 
her ears, could not understand. It was very brief : a cry 
broke it a sound of surprise, followed by the sound of a 
kiss : ejaculations, but half articulate, succeeded. 

' Mon Dieu ! mon Dieu ! Est-ce que je m'y attendais? ' 
were the words chiefly to be distinguished. 

' Et tu te portes toujours bieu, bonne soeur ? ' inquired 
another voice Robert's, certainly. 

Caroline was puzzled. Obeying an impulse, the wisdom 
of which she had not time to question, she escaped from the 
little parlour, by way of leaving the coast clear, and running 
upstairs took up a position at the head of the banisters, 
whence she could make further observations ere presenting 
herself. It was considerably past sunset now : dusk filled 
the passage, yet not such deep dusk but that she could 
presently see Robert and Hortense traverse it. 

' Caroline ! Caroline ! ' called Hortense, a moment after- 
wards, ' venez voir mon frere ! ' 

' Strange ! ' commented Miss Helstone, ' passing 
strange ! What does this unwonted excitement about such 
an everyday occurrence as a return from market portend ? 
She has not lost her senses, has she ? Surely the burnt 
treacle has not crazed her ? ' 

She descended in a subdued flutter : yet more was she 
fluttered when Hortense seized her hand at the parlour- 
door, and leading her to Robert, who stood in bodily 
presence, tall and dark against the one window, presented 
her with a mixture of agitation and formality, as though they 
had been utter strangers, and this was their first mutual 


Increasing puzzle ! He bowed rather awkwardly, and 
turning from her with a stranger's embarrassment, he met 
the doubtful light from a window : it fell on his face, and 
the enigma of the dream (a dream it seemed) was at its 
height : she saw a visage like and unlike Bobert, and no 

' What is the matter ? ' said Caroline. ' Is my sight 
wrong ? Is it my cousin ? ' 

' Certainly, it is your cousin,' asserted Hortense. 
Then who was this now coming through the passage, now 
entering the room ? Caroline, looking round, met a new 
Robert, the real Robert, as she felt at once. 

' Well,' said he, smiling at her questioning, astonished 
face, which is which ? ' 

' Ah ! this is you ! ' was the answer. 
He laughed. ' I believe it is me ; and do you know who 
he is ? You never saw him before ; but you have heard of 

She had gathered her senses now. 

' It can be only one person : your brother, since it is so 
like you : my other cousin, Louis.' 

' Clever little CEdipus ! you would have baffled the 
Sphinx ! but now, see us together. Change places. 
Change again, to confuse her, Louis. Which is the old love 
now, Lina ? ' 

' As if it were possible to make a mistake when you 
speak ! You should have told Hortense to ask. But you 
are not so much alike : it is only your height, your figure, 
and complexion that are so similar.' 

' And I am Robert, am I not ? ' asked the new comer, 
making a first effort to overcome what seemed his natural 

Caroline shook her head gently. A soft, expressive 
ray from her eye beamed on the real Robert : it said 

She was not permitted to quit her cousins soon : Robert 
himself was peremptory in obliging her to remain. Glad, 


simple, and affable in her demeanour (glad for this night, at 
least), in light, bright spirits for the time, she was too 
pleasant an addition to the cottage circle to be willingly 
parted with by any of them. Louis seemed naturally rather 
a grave, still, retiring man, but the Caroline of this evening, 
which was not (as you know, reader) the Caroline of every 
day, thawed his reserve, and cheered his gravity soon. He 
sat near her, and talked to her. She already knew his 
vocation was that of tuition ; she learned now he had for 
some years been the tutor of Mr. Sympson's son ; that he 
had been travelling with him, and had accompanied him to 
the north. She inquired if he liked his post, but got a look 
in reply which did not invite or license further question. 
The look woke Caroline's ready sympathy : she thought it a 
very sad expression to pass over so sensible a face as 
Louis's ; for he had a sensible face, though not handsome, 
she considered, when seen near Robert's. She turned to 
make the comparison. Robert was leaning against the wall, 
a little behind her, turning over the leaves of a book of 
engravings, and probably listening, at the same time, to the 
dialogue between her and Louis. 

'How could I think them alike?' she asked herself: 
' I see now it is Hortense, Louis resembles, not Robert.' 

And this was in part true : he had the shorter nose and 
longer upper-lip of his sister, rather than the tine traits of 
his brother : he had her mould of mouth and chin all less 
decisive, accurate, and clear than those of the young mill- 
owner. His air, though deliberate and reflective, could 
scarcely be called prompt and acute. You felt, in sitting 
near and looking up at him, that a slower and probably a 
more benignant nature than that of the elder Moore shed 
calm on your impressions. 

Robert - perhaps aware that Caroline's glance had 
wandered towards and dwelt upon him, though he had 
neither met nor answered itput down the book of engrav- 
ings, and approaching, took a seat at her side. She resumed 
her conversation with Louis, but, while she talked to him, 


her thoughts were elsewhere : her heart beat on the side 
from which her face was half-averted. She acknowledged 
a steady, manly, kindly air in Louis ; but she bent before 
the secret power of Robert. To be so near him though he 
was silent though he did not touch so much as her scarf- 
fringe, or the white hem of her dress affected her like a 
spell. Had she been obliged to speak to him only, it would 
have quelled but, at liberty to address another, it excited 
her. Her discourse flowed freely : it was gay, playful, 
eloquent. The indulgent look and placid manner of her 
auditor encouraged her to ease ; the sober pleasure expressed 
by his smile drew out all that was brilliant in her nature. 
She felt that this evening she appeared to advantage, and, 
as Robert was a spectator, the consciousness contented her : 
had he been called away, collapse would at once have 
succeeded stimulus. 

But her enjoyment was not long to shine full-orbed : a 
cloud soon crossed it. 

Hortense, who for some time had been on the move 
ordering supper, and was now clearing the little table of 
some books, &c., to make room for the tray, called Robert'^ 
attention to the glass of flowers, the carmine, and snow, 
and gold of whose petals looked radiant indeed by candle- 

' They came from Fieldhead,' she said, ' intended as a 
gift to you, no doubt : we know who is the favourite there 
not I, I'm sure.' 

It was a wonder to hear Hortense jest ; a sign that her 
spirits were at high-water mark indeed. 

' We are to understand, then, that Robert is the 
favourite ? ' observed Louis. 

'Mon cher,' replied Hortense, ' Robert c'est tout ce 
qu'il y a de plus precieux au monde : & cote de lui, le reste 
du genre humain n'est que du rebut. N'ai-je pas raison, 
mon enfant ? ' she added, appealing to Caroline. 

Caroline was obliged to reply, ' Yes 'and her beacon 
was quenched : her star withdrew as she spoke. 


1 Et toi, Robert ? ' inquired Louis. 

1 When you shall have an opportunity, ask herself,' was 
the quiet answer. Whether he reddened or paled Caroline 
did not examine : she discovered it was late, and she must 
go home. Home she would go: not even Robert could 
detain her now. 



THE future sometimes seems to sob a low warning of the 
events it is bringing us, like some gathering though yet 
remote storm, which, in tones of the wind, in flushings of 
the firmament, in clouds strangely torn, announces a blast 
strong to strew the sea with wrecks ; or commissioned to 
bring in fog the yellow taint of pestilence, covering white 
Western isles with the poisoned exhalations of the East, 
dimming the lattices of English homes with the breath of 
Indian plague. At other times this Future bursts suddenly, 
as if a rock had rent, and in it a grave had opened, whence 
issues the body of one that slept. Ere you are aware you 
stand face to face with a shrouded and unthought-of Calamity 
a new Lazarus. 

Caroline Helstone went home from Hollow's cottage in 
good health, as she imagined. On waking the next morning 
she felt oppressed with unwonted languor : at breakfast, at 
each meal of the following day, she missed all sense of 
appetite : palatable food was as ashes and sawdust to her. 

' Am I ill ? ' she asked, and looked at herself in the 
glass. Her eyes were bright, their pupils dilated, her 
cheeks seemed rosier and fuller than usual. ' I look well ! 
Why can I not eat ? ' 

She felt a pulse beat fast in her temples : she felt, too, 
her brain in strange activity : her spirits were raised ; 
hundreds of busy and broken, but brilliant thoughts engaged 
her mind : a glow rested on them, such as tinged her 


Now followed a hot, parched, thirsty, restless night 
Towards morning one terrible dream seized her like a tiger- 
When she woke, she felt and knew she was ill. 

How she had caught the fever (fever it was), she could 
not tell. Probably in her late walk home, some sweet, 
poisoned breeze, redolent of honey-dew and miasma, had 
passed into her lungs and veins, and finding there already a 
fever of mental excitement, and a languor of long conflict 
and habitual sadness, had fanned the spark of flame, and 
left a well-lit fire behind it. 

It seemed, however, but a gentle fire : after two hot days 
and worried nights, there was no violence in the symptoms, 
and neither her uncle, nor Fanny, nor the doctor, nor Miss 
Keeldar, when she called, had any fear for her : a few days 
would restore her, every one believed. 

The few days passed, and though it was still thought 
it could not long delay the revival had not begun. Mrs. 
Pryor, who had visited her daily being present in her 
chamber one morning when she had been ill a fortnight 
watched her very narrowly for some minutes : she took her 
hand, and placed her finger on her wrist ; then, quietly 
leaving the chamber, she went to Mr. Helstone's study. 
With him she remained closeted a long time half the 
morning. On returning to her sick young friend, she laid 
aside shawl and bonnet : she stood a while at the bedside, 
one hand placed in the other, gently rocking herself to and 
fro, in an attitude and with a movement habitual to her. 
At last she said ' I have sent Fanny to Fieldhead to fetch 
a few things for me, such as I shall want during a short 
stay here : it is my wish to remain with you till you are 
better. Your uncle kindly permits my attendance : will it 
to youi'self be acceptable, Caroline ? ' 

' I am sorry you should take such needless trouble. I 
do not feel very ill, but I cannot refuse resolutely : it will be 
such comfort to know you are in the house, to see you 
sometimes in the room ; but don't confine yourself on my 
account, dear Mrs. Pryor. Fanny nurses me very well.' 


Mrs. Pryor bending over the pale little sufferer was 
now smoothing the hair under her cap, and gently raising 
her pillow. As she performed these offices, Caroline, 
smiling, lifted her face to kiss her. 

' Are you free from pain ? Are you tolerably at ease ? ' 
was inquired in a low, earnest voice, as the self -elected nurse 
yielded to the caress. 

' I think I am almost happy.' 

' You wish to drink ? Your lips are parched.' 

She held a glass filled with some cooling beverage to her 

' Have you eaten anything to-day, Caroline ? ' 

' I cannot eat.' 

' But soon your appetite will return : it must return : that 
is, I pray God it may ! ' 

In laying her again on the couch, she encircled her in her 
arms ; and while so doing, by a movement which seemed 
scarcely voluntary, she drew her to her heart, and held her 
close gathered an instant. 

' I shall hardly wish to get well, that I may keep you 
always,' said Caroline. 

Mrs. Pryor did not smile at this speech : over her features 
ran a tremor, which for some minutes she was absorbed in 

' You are more used to Fanny than to me,' she remarked, 
erelong. ' I should think my attendance must seem strange, 
officious ? ' 

' No : quite natural, and very soothing. You must have 
been accustomed to wait on sick people, ma'am. You move 
about the room so softly, and you speak so quietly, and touch 
me so gently.' 

' I am dexterous in nothing, my dear. You will often find 
me awkward, but never negligent.' 

Negligent, indeed, she was not. From that hour Fanny 
and Eliza became ciphers in the sick-room : Mrs. Pryor made 
it her domain : she performed all its duties ; she lived in it 
day and night. The patient remonstrated faintly, however, 


from the first, and not at all erelong ; loneliness and gloom 
were now banished from her bedside ; protection and solace 
sat there instead. She and her nurse coalesced in wondrous 
union. Caroline was usually pained to require or receive 
much attendance : Mrs. Pryor, under ordinary circumstances, 
had neither the habit nor the art of performing little offices 
of service ; but all now passed with such ease so naturally, 
that the patient was as willing to be cherished as the nurse 
was bent on cherishing : no sign of weariness in the latter 
ever reminded the former that she ought to be anxious. 
There was, in fact, no very hard duty to perform ; but a 
hireling might have found it hard. 

With all this care, it seemed strange the sick girl did not 
get well ; yet such was the case : she wasted like any snow- 
wreath in thaw ; she faded like any flower in drought. Miss 
Keeldar, on whose thoughts danger or death seldom intruded, 
had at first entertained no fears at all for her friend ; but 
seeing her change and sink from time to time when she paid 
her visits, alarm clutched her heart. She went to Mr. 
Helstone and expressed herself with so much energy that 
that gentleman was at last obliged, however unwillingly, to 
admit the idea that his niece was ill of something more than 
a migraine ; and when Mrs. Pryor came and quietly demanded 
a physician, he said she might send for two if she liked. One 
came, but that one was an oracle : he delivered a dark saying 
of which the future was to solve the mystery, wrote some 
prescriptions, gave some directions the whole with an air of 
crushing authority pocketed his fee, and went. Probably, 
lie knew well enough he could do no good : but didn't like to 
say so. 

Still, no rumour of serious illness got wind in the neigh- 
bourhood. At Hollow's-cottage it was thought that Caroline 
had only a severe cold, she having written a note to Hortense 
to that effect ; and Mademoiselle contented herself with send- 
ing two pots of currant jam, a receipt for a tisane, and a note 
of advice. 

Mrs. Yorke being told that a physician had been 


summoned, sneered at the hypochondriac fancies of the rich 
and idle, who, she said, have nothing but themselves to think 
about, and must needs send for a doctor if only so much as 
their little finger ached. 

The ' rich and idle ' represented in the person of Caroline 
were meantime falling fast into a condition of prostration, 
whose quickly consummated debility puzzled all who 
witnessed it, except one ; for that one alone reflected how 
liable is the undermined structure to sink in sudden ruin. 

Sick people often have fancies inscrutable to ordinary 
attendants, and Caroline had one which even her tender nurse 
could not at first explain. On a certain day in the week, at 
a certain hour, she would whether worse or better entreat 
to be taken up and dressed, and suffered to sit in her chair 
near the window. This station she would retain till noon was 
past : whatever degree of exhaustion or debility her wan 
aspect betrayed, she still softly put off all persuasion to seek 
repose until the church-clock had duly tolled mid-day : the 
twelve strokes sounded, she grew docile, and would meekly 
lie down. Returned to the couch, she usually buried her 
face deep in the pillow, and drew the coverlets close 
round her, as if to shut out the world and sun, of which 
she was tired : more than once, as she thus lay, a slight 
convulsion shook the sick-bed, and a faint sob broke thu 
silence round it. These things were not unnoted by 
Mrs. Pry or. 

One Tuesday morning, as usual, she had asked leave to rise, 
and now she sat wrapped in her white dressing-gown, loaning 
forward in the easy-chair, gazing steadily and patiently from 
the lattice. Mrs. Pryor was seated a little behind, knitting, 
as it seemed, but, in truth, watching her. A change crossed 
her pale mournful brow, animating its languor ; a light shot 
into her faded eyes, reviving their lustre ; she half rose and 
looked earnestly out. Mrs. Pryor, drawing softly near, 
glanced over her shoulder. From this window was visible 
the churchyard, beyond it the road, and there, riding sharply 
by appeared a horseman. The figure was not yet too remote 


for recognition : Mrs. Pryor had long sight ; she knew Mr. 
Moore. Just as an intercepting rising ground concealed him 
from view, the clock struck twelve. 

' May I lie down again ? ' asked Caroline. 

Her nurse assisted her to bed: having laid her down and 
drawn the curtain, she stood listening near. The little couch 
trembled, the suppressed sob stirred the air. A contraction as 
of anguish altered Mrs. Pryor's features ; she wrung her 
hands ; half a groan escaped her lips. She now remembered 
that Tuesday was Whinbury market-day : Mr. Moore must 
always pass the Rectory on his way thither, just ere noon of 
that day. 

Caroline wore continually round her neck a slender braid 
of silk, attached to which was some trinket. Mrs. Pryor had 
seen the bit of gold glisten ; but had not yet obtained a fair 
view of it. Her patient never parted with it : when dressed 
it was hidden in her bosom ; as she lay in bed she always held 
it in her hand. That Tuesday afternoon the transient doze 
more like lethargy than sleep which sometimes abridged 
the long days, had stolen over her : the weather was hot ; 
while turning in febrile restlessness, she had pushed the 
coverlets a little aside ; Mrs. Pryor bent to replace them ; 
the small, wasted hand lying nerveless on the sick girl's 
breast, clasped as usual her jealously-guarded treasure : those 
lingers whose attenuation it gave pain to see, were now 
relaxed in sleep : Mrs. Pryor gently disengaged the braid, 
drawing out a tiny locket a slight thing it was, such as it 
suited her small purse to purchase : under its crystal face 
appeared a curl of black hair too short and crisp to have 
been severed from a female head. 

Some agitated movement occasioned a twitch of the silken 
chain : the sleeper started and woke. Her thoughts were 
usually now somewhat scattered on waking ; her look gene- 
rally wandering. Half-rising, as if in terror, she exclaimed : 
' Don't take it from me, Robert ! Don't ! It is my last 
comfort let me keep it. I never tell any one whose hair it 
is I never show it.' 


Mrs. Pryor had already disappeai'ed behind the curtain : 
reclining far back in a deep arm-chair by the bedside, she was 
withdrawn from view. Caroline looked abroad into the cham- 
ber : she thought it empty. As her stray ideas returned 
slowly, each folding its weak wings on the mind's sad shore, 
like birds exhausted, beholding void, and perceiving silence 
round her, she believed herself alone. Collected, she was not 
yet : perhaps healthy self-possession and self-control were to 
be hers no more ; perhaps that world the strong and pro- 
sperous live in had already rolled from beneath her feet for 
ever : so, at least, it often seemed to herself. In health, she 
had never been accustomed to think aloud ; but now words 
escaped her lips unawares. 

1 Oh ! I sJiould see him once more before all is over : 
Heaven might favour me thus far ! ' she cried. ' God grant 
me a little comfort before I die ! ' was her humble petition. 

' But he will not know I am ill till I am gone ; and he 
will come when they have laid me out, and I am senseless, 
cold, and stiff. 

1 What can my departed soul feel then ? Can it see or 
know what happens to the clay ? Can spirits, through any 
medium, communicate with living flesh? Can the dead at all 
revisit those they leave ? Can they come in the elements ? 
Will wind, water, fire, lend me a path to Moore ? 

' Is it for nothing the wind sounds almost articulately 
sometimes sings as I have lately heard it sing at night or 
passes the casement sobbing, as if for sorrow to come ? Does 
nothing, then, haunt it nothing inspire it ? 

' Why, it suggested to me words one night : it poured a 
strain which I could have written down, only I was appalled, 
and dared not rise to seek pencil and paper by the dim 

' What is that electricity they speak of, whose changes 
make us well or ill ; whose lack or excess blasts ; whose 
even balance revives ? What are all those influences that 
are about us in the atmosphere, that keep playing over our 
nerves like fingers on stringed instruments, and call forth 


now a sweet note, and now a wail now an exultant swell, 
and, anon, the saddest cadence? 

1 WJtere is the other world ? In what will another life 
consist ? Why do I ask ? Have I not cause to think that 
the hour is hasting but too fast when the veil must be rent 
for me ? Do I not know the Grand Mystery is likely to 
burst prematurely on me ? Great Spirit ! in whose good- 
ness I confide ; whom, as my Father, I have petitioned 
night and morning from early infancy, help the weak 
creation of thy hands ! Sustain me through the ordeal I 
dread and must undergo ! Give me strength ! Give me 
patience ! Give me oh ! give me FAITH ! ' 

She fell back on her pillow. Mrs. Pryor found means 
to steal quietly from the room : she re-entered it soon after, 
apparently as composed as if she had really not overheard 
this strange soliloquy. 

The next day several callers came. It had become 
known that Miss Helstone was worse. Mr. Hall and his 
sister Margaret arrived ; both, after they had been in the 
sick-room, quitted it in tears ; they had found the patient 
more altered than they expected. Hortense Moore came. 
Caroline seemed stimulated by her presence : she assured 
her, smiling, she was not dangerously ill ; she talked to her 
in a low voice, but cheerfully : during her stay, excitement 
kept up the flush of her complexion : she looked better. 

' How is Mr. Robert ? ' asked Mrs. Pryor, as Hortense 
was preparing to take leave. 

' He was very well when he left.' 

' Left ! Is he gone from home ? ' 

It was then explained that some police intelligence 
about the rioters of whom he was in pursuit, had, that 
morning, called him away to Birmingham, and probably a 
fortnight might elapse ere he returned. 

' He is not aware that Miss Helstone is very ill ? ' 

' Oh ! no. He thought, like me, that she had only a bad 

After this visit, Mrs. Pryor took care not to approach 


Caroline's couch for above an hour : she heard her weep, 
and dared not look on her tears. 

As evening closed in, she brought her some tea. Caroline, 
opening her eyes from a moment's slumber, viewed her nurse 
with an unrecognising glance. 

'I smelt the honeysuckles in the glen this summer 
morning,' she said, ' as I stood at the counting-house 

Strange words like these from pallid lips pierce a loving 
listener's heart more poignantly than steel. They sound 
romantic, perhaps, in books : in real life, they are harrowing. 

' My darling, do you know me ? ' said Mrs. Pryor. 

' I went in to call Robert to breakfast : I have been 
with him in the garden : he asked me to go : a heavy dew 
has refreshed the flowers : the peaches are ripening.' 

1 My darling ! my darling ! ' again and again repeated the 

' I thought it was daylight long after sunrise : it looks 
dark is the moon now set?' 

That moon, lately risen, was gazing full and mild 
upon her : floating in deep blue space, it watched her un- 

' Then it is not morning ? I am not at the cottage ? 
Who is this? I see a shape at my bedside.' 

' It is myself it is your friend your nurse your . 

Lean your head on my shoulder : collect yourself.' (In a 
lower tone.) ' Oh God, take pity ! Give /w?r life, and me 
strength ! Send me courage teach me words ! ' 

Some minutes passed in silence. The patient lay mute 
and passive in the trembling arms on the throbbing bosom 
of the nurse. 

' I am better now,' whispered Caroline, at last, ' much 
better I feel where I am : this is Mrs. Fryor near me : I 
was dreaming I talk when I wake up from dreams : people 
often do in illness. How fast your heart beats, ma'am ! Do 
not be afraid.' 

'It is not fear, child ; only a little anxiety, which will 


pass. I have brought you some tea, Gary ; your uncle made 
it himself. You know he says he can make a better cup 
of tea than any housewife can. Taste it. He is concerned 
to hear that you eat so little : he would be glad if you had a 
better appetite.' 

' I am thirsty : let me drink.' 

She drank eagerly. 

' What o'clock is it, ma'am ? ' she asked. 

' Past nine.' 

1 Not later ? Oh ! I have yet a long night before me : 
but the tea has made me strong : I will sit up.' 

Mrs. Pryor raised her, and arranged her pillows. 

' Thank Heaven ! I am not always equally miserable, 
and ill, and hopeless. The afternoon has been bad since 
Hortense went : perhaps the evening may be better. It is a 
fine night, I think? The moon shines clear.' 

' Very fine : a perfect summer night. The old church- 
tower gleams white almost as silver.' 

' And does the churchyard look peaceful ? ' 

' Yes, and the garden also : dew glistens on the foliage.' 

' Can you see many long weeds and nettles amongst the 
graves, or do they look turfy and flowery ? ' 

' I see closed daisy-heads, gleaming like pearls on some 
mounds. Thomas has mown down the dock-leaves and rank 
grass, and cleared all away.' 

' I always like that to be done : it soothes one's mind to 
see the place in order : and, I dare say, within the church 
just now that moonlight shines as softly as in my room. It 
will fall through the east window full on the Helstone 
monument. When I close my eyes I seem to see poor 
papa's epitaph in black letters on the white marble. There 
is plenty of room for other inscriptions underneath.' 

' William Farren carne to look after your flowers this 
morning : he was afraid, now you cannot tend them yourself, 
they would be neglected. He has taken two of your 
favourite plants home to nurse for you.' 

' Jf I were to make a will, I would leave William all my 


plants ; Shirley my trinkets except one, which must not 
be taken off my neck ; and you, ma'am, my books.' (After 
a pause.) 'Mrs. Pryor, I feel a longing wish for some- 

1 For what, Caroline ? ' 

' You know I always delight to hear you sing ; sing me 
a hymn just now : sing that hymn which begins, 

Our God, our help in ages past, 

Our hope for years to come ; 
Our shelter from the stormy blast ; 

Our refuge, haven, home I ' 

Mrs. Pryor at once complied. 

No wonder Caroline liked to hear her sing : her voice, 
even in speaking, was sweet and silver clear ; in song, it 
was almost divine : neither flute nor dulcimer has tones so 
pure. But the tone was secondary compared to the ex- 
pression which trembled through : a tender vibration from 
a feeling heart. 

The servants in the kitchen, hearing the strain, stole to 
the stair-foot to listen : even old Helstone, as he walked in 
the garden, pondering over the unaccountable and feeble 
nature of women, stood still amongst his borders to catch 
the mournful melody more distinctly. Why it reminded 
him of his forgotten dead wife, he could not tell ; nor why 
it made him more concerned than he had hitherto been for 
Caroline's fading girlhood. He was glad to recollect that, 
he had promised to pay Wynne, the magistrate, a visit that 
evening. Low spirits and gloomy thoughts were very much 
his aversion : when they attacked him he usually found 
means to make them inarch in double-quick time. The 
hymn followed him faintly as he crossed the fields : he 
hastened his customary sharp pace, that ho might get beyond 
its reach. 

Thy word commands our flesh to dust, 

4 Return, ye sons of men ; ' 
All nations rose from earth at first, 
And turn to earth again. 


A thousand ages in thy sight 

Are like an evening gone ; 
Short as the watch that ends the night 

Before the rising sun. 

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, 

Bears all its sons away ; 
They fly, forgotten, as a dream 

Dies at the opening day. 

Like flowery fields, the nations stand, 

Fresh in the morning light ; 
The flowers beneath the mower's hand 

Lie withering ere 'tis night. 

Our God, our help in ages past, 

Our hope for years to come ; 
Be thou our guard while troubles last, 

O Father, be our home ! 

1 Now sing a song a Scottish song,' suggested Caroline 
when the hymn was over, ' " Ye banks and braes o' bonny 
Doon." ' 

Again Mrs. Pryor obeyed, or essayed to obey. At the 
close of the first stanza she stopped : she could get no 
further : her full heart flowed over. 

1 You are weeping at the pathos of the air : come here, 
and I will comfort you,' said Caroline, in a pitying accent. 
Mrs. Pryor came : she sat down on the edge of her patient's 
bed, and allowed the wasted arms to encircle her. 

' You often soothe me, let me soothe you,' murmured the 
young girl, kissing her cheek. ' I hope,' she added, ' it is 
not for me you weep.' 

No answer followed. 

' Do you think I shall not get better ? I do not feel very 
ill only weak.' 

' But your mind, Caroline : your mind is crushed ; your 
heart is almost broken : you have been so neglected, so 
repulsed, left so desolate.' 

' I believe grief is, and always has been, my worst ail- 


ment. I sometimes think, if an abundant gush of happi- 
ness came on me, I could revive yet." 

' Do you wish to live ? ' 

' I have no object in life.' 

' You love me, Caroline ? ' 

' Very much, very truly, inexpressibly sometimes : 
just now I feel as if I could almost grow to your heart.' 

' I will return directly, dear,' remarked Mrs. Pryor, as 
she laid Caroline down. 

Quitting her, she glided to the door, softly turned the 
key in the lock, ascertained that it was fast, and came 
back. She bent over her. She threw back the curtain to 
admit the moonlight more freely. She gazed intently on 
her face. 

' Then, if you love me,' said she, speaking quickly, with 
an altered voice : ' if you feel as if to use your own words 
you could " grow to my heart," it will be neither shock nor 
pain for you to know that that heart is the source whence 
yours was filled : that from my veins issued the tide which 
flows in yours ; that you are mine my daughter my own 

1 Mrs. Pryor ! ' 

' My own child ! ' 

'That is that means you have adopted me? ' 

' It means that, if I have given you nothing else, I at 
least gave you life ; that I bore you nursed you ; that I am 
your true mother : no other woman can claim the title it is 

'But Mrs. James Helstoiie but my father's wife whom 
I do not remember ever to have seen, she is my niother ? ' 

' She is your mother : James Helstone was nnj husband. 
I say you are mine. I have proved it. I thought perhaps 
you were all his, which would have been a cruel dispensa- 
tion for me : I find it is not so. God permitted me to be the 
parent of my child's mind : it belongs to me : it is my 
property my right. These features are James's own. He 
had a fine face when he was young, and not altered by 


error. Papa, my darling, gave you your blue eyes and soft 
brown bair : he gave you the oval of your face and the 
regularity of your lineaments : the outside he conferred ; 
but the heart and the brain are mine : the germs are from 
me, and they are improved, they are developed to excellence. 
I esteem and approve my child as highly as I do most 
fondly love her.' 

1 Is what I hear true ? Is it no dream ? ' 

' I wish it were as true that the substance and colour of 
health were restored to your cheek.' 

1 My own mother ! is she one I can be so fond of as I 
can of you ? People generally did not like her, so I have 
been given to understand.' 

' They told you that ? Well, your mother now tells you, 
that, not having the gift to please people generally, for their 
approbation she does not care : her thoughts are centered in 
her child : does that child welcome or reject her ? ' 

' But if you are my mother, the world is all changed to 
me. Surely I can live I should like to recover ' 

' You must, recover. You drew life and strength from 
my breast when you were a tiny, fair infant, over whose blue 
eyes I used to weep, fearing I beheld in your very beauty 
the sign of qualities that had entered my heart like iron, 
and pierced through my soul like a sword. Daughter 1 we 
have been long parted : I return now to cherish you again.' 

She held her to her bosom : she cradled her in her 
arms : she rocked her softly, as if lulling a young child to 

' My mother ! My own mother 1 ' 

The offspring nestled to the parent : that parent, feeling 
the endearment and hearing the appeal, gathered her closer 
still. She covered her with noiseless kisses : she murmured 
love over her, like a cushat fostering its young. 

There was silence in the room for a Ion" while. 

' Does my uncle know ? ' 


' Your uncle knows : I told him when I first came to stay 
with you here.' 

' Did you recognise me when we first met at Fieldhead ? ' 

' How could it be otherwise ? Mr. and Miss Helstone 
being announced, I was prepared to see my child.' 

' It was that then which moved you : I saw you 

' You saw nothing, Caroline, I can cover my feelings. 
You can never tell what an age of strange sensation I lived, 
during the two minutes that elapsed between the report of 
your name and your entrance. You can never tell how your 
look, mien, carriage, shook me.' 

' Why ? Were you disappointed ? ' 

' What will she be like ? I had asked myself ; and when 
I saw what you were like, I could have dropped.' 

' Mamma, why? ' 

' I trembled in your presence. I said I will never own 
her ; she shall never know me.' 

' But I said and did nothing remarkable. I felt a little 
diffident at the thought of an introduction to strangers, that 
was all.' 

' I soon saw you wore diffident ; that was the first thing 
which re-assured me : had you been rustic, clownish, 
awkward, I should have been content.' 

' You puzzle me.' 

' I had reason to dread a fair outside, to mistrust a 
popular bearing, to shudder before distinction, grace, and 
courtesy. Beauty and affability had come in my way when 
I was recluse, desolate, young, and ignorant: a toil-worn 
governess perishing of uncheerecl labour, breaking down 
before her time. These, Caroline, when they smiled on me, 
I mistook for angels! I followed them home, and when 
into their hands I had given without reserve my whole 
chance of future happiness, it was my lot to witness a trans- 
figuration on the domestic hearth : to see the white mask 
lifted, the bright disguise put away, and opposite me sat 
down oh God ! I Jtavc suffered ! ' 


She sank on the pillow. 

' I have suffered ! None saw none knew : there was no 
sympathy no redemption no redress ! ' 

' Take comfort, mother : it is over now.' 

1 It is over, and not fruitlessly. I tried to keep the word 
of His patience : He kept me in the days of my anguish. I 
was afraid with terror I was troubled : through great 
tribulation He brought me through to a salvation revealed 
in this last time. My fear had torment He has cast it 
out : He has given me in its stead perfect love. . . . But, 
Caroline ' 

Thus she invoked her daughter after a pause. 

' Mother ! ' 

' I charge you, when you next look on your father's 
monument, to respect the name chiselled there. To you he 
did only good. On you he conferred his whole treasure of 
beauties ; nor added to them one dark defect. All you 
derived from him is excellent. You owe him gratitude. 
Leave, between him and me, the settlement of our mutual 
account: meddle not : God is the arbiter. This world's laws 
never came near us never ! They were powerless as a 
rotten bulrush to protect me ! impotent as idiot babblings 
to restrain him ! As you said, it is all over now : the grave 
lies between us. There he sleeps in that church ! To his 
dust I say this night, what I never said before, " James, 
slumber peacefully ! See ! your terrible debt is cancelled ! 
Look ! I wipe out the long, black account with my own 
hand ! James, your child atones : this living likeness of you 
this thing with your perfect features this one good gift 
you gave me has nestled affectionately to my heart, and 
tenderly called me ' mother.' Husband ! rest forgiven ! " 

' Dearest mother, that is right ! Can papa's spirit hear 
us ? Is he comforted to know that we still love him ? ' 

' I said nothing of love : I spoke of forgiveness. Mind 
the truth, child I said nothing of love ? On the threshold 
of eternity, should he be there to see me enter, will I 
maintain that.' 


' Oh, mother ! you must have suffered ! ' 

' Oh, child ! the human heart can suffer. It can hold 
more tears than the ocean holds waters. We never know 
how deep how wide it is, till misery begins to unbind her 
clouds, and fill it with rushing blackness.' 

' Mother, forget.' 

' Forget ! ' she said, with the strangest spectre of a 
laugh. 'The north pole will rush to the south, and the 
headlands of Europe be locked into the bays of Australia ere 
I forget.' 

' Hush, mother ! rest ! be at peace ! ' 

And the child lulled the parent, as the parent had erst 
lulled the child. At last Mrs. Pryor wept : she then grew 
calmer. She resumed those tender cares agitation had for a 
moment suspended. Eeplacing her daughter on the couch, 
she smoothed the pillow and spread the sheet. The soft 
hair whose locks were loosened, she rearranged ; the damp 
brow she refreshed with a cool, fragrant essence. 

1 Mamma, let them bring a candle, that I may see you ; 
and tell my uncle to come into this room by-and-by: I 
want to hear him say that I am your daughter : and, 
mamma, take your supper here; don't leave me for one 
minute to-night.' 

' Oh, Caroline ! it is well you are gentle. You will say 
to me go, and I shall go ; come, and I shall come ; do this, 
and I shall do it. You inherit a certain manner as well as 
certain features. It will be always " mamma " prefacing a 
mandate : softly spoken though from you, thank God ! 
Well' (she added, under her breath), 'he spoke softly too, 
once, like a flute breathing tenderness ; and then, when 
the world was not by to listen, discords that split the nerves 
and curdled the blood sounds to inspire insanity.' 

' It seems so natural, mamma, to ask you for this and 
that. I shall want nobody but you to be near me, or to do 
anything for me ; but do not let me be troublesome : check 
me, if I encroach.' 

1 You must not depend on me to check you : you must 


keep guard over yourself. I have little moral courage : the 
want of it is my bane. It is that which has made me an 
unnatural parent which has kept me apart from my child 
during the ten years which have elapsed since my husband's 
death left me at liberty to claim her : it was that which first 
unnerved my arms and permitted the infant I might have 
retained a while longer, to be snatched prematurely from 
their embrace.' 

' How, mamma ? ' 

' I let you go as a babe, because you were pretty, and I 
feared your loveliness ; deeming it the stamp of perversity. 
They sent me your portrait, taken at eight years old ; that 
portrait confirmed my fears. Had it shown me a sunburnt 
little rustic a heavy, blunt-featured, commonplace child 
I should have hastened to claim you ; but there, under the 
silver paper, I saw blooming the delicacy of an aristocratic 
flower " little lady " was written on every trait. I had too 
recently crawled from under the yoke of the fine gentleman 
escaped, galled, crushed, paralyzed, dying to dare to 
encounter his still finer and most fairy-like representative. 
My sweet little lady overwhelmed me with dismay : her air 
of native elegance froze my very marrow. In my experience 
I had not met with truth, modesty, good principle as the 
concomitants of beauty. A form so straight and fine, I 
argued, must conceal a mind warped and cruel. I had little 
faith in the power of education to rectify such a mind ; or 
rather, I entirely misdoubted my own ability to influence it. 
Caroline, I dared not undertake to rear you : I resolved to 
leave you in your uncle's hands. Matthewson Helstone, I 
knew, if an austere, was an upright man. He and all the 
world thought hardly of me for my strange, unmotherly 
resolve, and I deserved to be misjudged.' 

' Mamma, why did you call yourself Mrs. Pryor ? ' 

' It was a name in my mother's family. I adopted it 
that I might live unmolested. My married name recalled 
too vividly my married life : I could not bear it. Besides, 
threats were uttered of forcing me to return to bondage : it 


could not be ; rather a bier for a bed the grave for a home. 
My new name sheltered me : I resumed under its screen my 
old occupation of teaching. At first, it scarcely procured 
me the means of sustaining life ; but how savoury was 
hunger when I fasted in peace ! How safe seemed the 
darkness and chill of an unkindled hearth, when no lurid 
reflection from terror crimsoned its desolation ! How 
serene was solitude, when I feared not the irruption of 
violence and vice ! ' 

'But, mamma, you have been in this neighbourhood 
before. How did it happen, that when you reappeared here 
with Miss Keeldar, you were not recognised ? ' 

' I only paid a short visit, as a bride, twenty years ago ; 
and then I was very different to what I am now slender, 
almost as slender as my daughter is at this day : my com- 
plexion my very features are changed ; my hair, my style 
of dress everything is altered. You cannot fancy me a 
slim young person, attired in scanty drapery of white muslin, 
with bare arms, bracelets and necklace of beads, and hair 
disposed in round Grecian curls above my forehead ? ' 

' You must, indeed, have been different. Mamma, I heard 
the front door open : if it is my uncle coming in, just ask 
him to step up-stairs, and let me hear his assurance that I 
am truly awake and collected, and not dreaming or delirious.' 

The Rector, of his own accord, was mounting the stairs ; 
and Mrs. Pryor summoned him to his niece's apartment. 

' She's not worse, I hope ? ' he inquired hastily. 

' I think her better ; she is disposed to converse she 
seems stronger.' 

' Good ! ' said he, brushing quickly into the room. ' Ha, 
Gary ! how do ? Did you drink my cup of tea ? I made it 
for you just as I like it myself.' 

' I drank it every drop, uncle : it did me good it has made 
me quite alive. I have a wish for company, so I begged 
Mrs. Pryor to call you in.' 

The respected ecclesiastic looked pleased, and yet embar- 
rassed. He was willing enough to bestow his company on his 


sick niece for ten minutes, since it was her whim to wish it ; 
but what means to employ for her entertainment, he knew 
not : he hemmed he fidgeted. 

1 You'll be up in a trice,' he observed, by way of saying 
something. ' The little weakness will soon pass off ; and then 
you must drink port- wine a pipe, if you can and eat game 
and oysters : I'll get them for you, if they are to be had any- 
where. Bless me ! we'll make you as strong as Samson 
before we've done with you.' 

' Who is that lady, uncle, standing beside you at the bed- 
foot ? ' 

' Good God ! ' he ejaculated. ' She's not wandering is 
she, ma'am?' 

Mrs. Pryor smiled. 

' I am wandering in a pleasant world,' said Caroline, in a 
soft, happy voice, ' and I want you to tell me whether it is 
real or visionary. What lady is that ? Give her a name 
uncle ? ' 

' We must have Dr. Kile again, ma'am, or better still, 
MacTurk : he's less of a humbug. Thomas must saddle the 
pony, and go for him.' 

' No : I don't want a doctor ; mamma shall be my only 
physician. Now, do you understand, uncle ? ' 

Mr. Helstonc pushed up his spectacles from his 
nose to his forehead, handled his snuff-box, and administered 
to himself a portion of the contents. Thus fortified, he 
answered briefly : ' I see daylight. You've told her then, 
ma'am ? ' 

' And is it true ? ' demanded Caroline, rising on her pillow. 
' Is she really my mother ? ' 

' You won't cry, or make any scene, or turn hysterical, if 
I answer Yes? ' 

' Cry ? I'd cry if you s:iid No. It would be terrible to l>o 
disappointed now. But give her a name : how do you c;ill 
her ? ' 

' I call thio stout lady in a quaint black dress, who looks 
youn^ r enough to wear much smarter raiment, if she would 


I call her Agnes Helstone : she married my brother James, 
and is his widow.' 

' And my mother ? ' 

' What a little sceptic it is ! Look at her small face, Mrs. 
Pryor, scarcely larger than the palm of my hand, alive with 
acuteness and eagerness.' (To Caroline.) ' She had the 
trouble of bringing you into the world at any rate : mind you 
show your duty to her by quickly getting well, and repairing 
the waste of these cheeks. Heigho ! she used to be plump : 
what she has done with it all, I can't, for the life of me, 

' If wishing to get well will help me, I shall not be long 
sick. This morning, I had no reason and no strength to 
wish it.' 

Fanny here tapped at the door, and said that supper was 

' Uncle, if you please, you may send me a little bit of 
supper anything you like, from your own plate. That is 
wiser than going into hysterics, is it not ? ' 

' It is spoken like a sage, Gary : see if I don't cater for 
you judiciously. When women are sensible and, above all, 
intelligible I can get on with them. It is only the vague, 
superfine sensations, and extremely wire-drawn notions, that 
put me about. Let a woman ask me to give her an edible or 
a wearable be the same a roc's egg or the breastplate of 
Aaron, a share of St. John's locusts and honey or the 
leathern girdle about his loins I can, at least, understand 
the demand : but when they pine for they know not what 
sympathy sentiment some of these indefinite abstractions 
I can't do it ; I don't know it ; I haven't get it. Madam, 
accept my arm.' 

Mrs. Pryor signified that she should stay with her 
daughter that evening. Ilelstone, accordingly, left to- 
gether. He soon returned, bringing a plate in his own 
consecrated hand. 

' This is chicken,' he said ; ' but we'll have partridge to- 
morrow. Lift her up, and put a shawl over her. On uiy 


word, I understand nursing. Now, here is the very same little? 
silver fork you used when you first came to the Eectory : 
that strikes me as being what you may call a happy thought 
a delicate attention. Take it, Gary, and munch away 

Caroline did her best. Her uncle frowned to see that her 
powers were so limited : he prophesied, however, great things 
for the future ; and as she praised the morsel he had brought, 
and smiled gratefully in his face, he stooped over her pillow, 
kissed her, and said, with a broken, rugged accent, ' Good- 
night, bairnie ! God bless thee ! ' 

Caroline enjoyed such peaceful rest that night, circled 
by her mother's arms, and pillowed on her breast, that she 
forgot to wish for any other stay ; and though more than 
one feverish dream came to her in slumber, yet, when she 
woke up panting, so happy and contented a feeling returned 
with returning consciousness, that her agitation was soothed 
almost as soon as felt. 

As to the mother, she spent the night like Jacob at Peniel. 
Till break of day, she wrestled with God in earnest prayer. 



NOT always do those who dare such divine conflict prevail. 
Night after night the sweat of agony may burst dark on the 
forehead ; the supplicant may cry for mercy with that sound- 
less voice the soul utters when its appeal is to the Invisible. 
' Spare my beloved,' it may implore. ' Heal my life's life. 
Bend not from me what long affection entwines with my 
whole nature. God of heaven bend hear be clement ! ' 
And after this cry and strife, the sun may rise and see him 
worsted. That opening morn, which used to salute him with 
the whisper of zephyrs, the carol of skylarks, may breathe, as 
its first accents, from the dear lips which colour and heat 
have quitted, ' Oh ! I have had a suffering night. This morn- 
ing I am worse. I have tried to rise. I cannot. Dreams I 
am unused to have troubled me.' 

Then the watcher approaches the patient's pillow, and sees 
a new and strange moulding of the familiar features, feels at 
once that the insufferable moment draws nigh, knows that it 
is God's will his idol shall be broken, and bends his head, and 
subdues his soul to the sentence he cannot avert, and scarce 
can bear. 

Happy Mrs. Pryor ! She was still praying, unconscious 
that the summer sun hung above the hills, when her child 
softly woke in her arms. No piteous, unconscious moaning 
sound which so wastes our strength that, even if we havo 
sworn to be firm, a rush of unconquerable tears sweeps away 
the oath preceded her waking. No space of deaf apathy 
followed. The first words spoken were not those of one 


becoming estranged from this world, and already permitted to 
stray at times into realms foreign to the living. Caroline 
evidently remembered with clearness what had happened. 

' Mamma, I have slept so well. I only dreamed and woke 

Mrs. Pryor rose with a start, that her daughter might not 
see the joyful tears called into her eyes by that affectionate 
word ' mamma,' and the welcome assurance that followed it. 

For many days the mother dared rejoice only with 
trembling. That first revival seemed like the flicker of a 
dying lamp : if the flame streamed up bright one moment, the 
next it sank dim in the socket. Exhaustion followed close 
on excitement. 

There was always a touching endeavour to appear better, 
but too often ability refused to second will ; too often the 
attempt to bear up failed : the effort to eat, to talk, to look 
cheerful, was unsuccessful. Many an hour passed, during 
which Mrs. Pryor feared that the chords of life could never 
more be strengthened, though the time of their breaking 
might be deferred. 

During this space the mother and daughter seemed left 
almost alone in the neighbourhood. It was the close of 
August : the weather was fine that is to say, it was very 
dry and very dusty, for an arid wind had been blowing from 
the east this month past : very cloudless, too, though a pale 
haze, stationary in the atmosphere, seemed to rob of all 
depth of tone the blue of heaven, of all freshness the verdure 
of earth, and of all glow the light of day. Almost every 
family in Briarficld was absent on an excursion. Miss 
Keeldar and her friends were at the sea-side ; so were Mrs. 
Yoike's household. Mr. Hall and Louis Moore, between 
whom a spontaneous intimacy seemed to have arisen, the 
result, probably, of harmony of views and temperament, 
were gone ' up north ' on a pedestrian excursion to the Lakes. 
Even Hortense, who would fain have stayed at home and 
aided Mrs. Pryor in nursing Caroline, had been so earnestly 
entreated by Miss Mann to accompany her once more to 


Wormwood Wells, in the hope of alleviating sufferings 
greatly aggravated by the insalubrious weather, that she felt 
obliged to comply ; indeed, it was not in her nature to refuse 
a request that at once appealed to her goodness of heart, 
and by a confession of dependency flattered her amour- 
propre. As for Robert, from Birmingham he had gone on to 
London, where he still sojourned. 

So long as the breath of Asiatic deserts parched Caroline's 
lips and fevered her veins, her physical convalescence could 
not keep pace with her returning mental tranquillity : but 
there came a day when the wind ceased to sob at the 
eastern gable of the Rectory, and at the oriel window of the 
church. A little cloud like a man's hand arose in the west; 
gusts from the same quarter drove it on and spread it wide ; 
wet and tempest prevailed a while. When that was over 
the sun broke out genially, heaven regained its azure, and 
earth its green : the livid cholera-tint had vanished from the 
face of nature : the hills rose clear round the horizon, ab- 
solved from that pale malaria-haze. 

Caroline's youth could now be of some avail to her, and 
so could her mother's nurture : both crowned by God's 
blessing, sent in the pure west wind blowing soft as fresh 
through the ever-open chamber lattice rekindled her long- 
languishing energies. At last Mrs. Pryor saw that it was 
permitted to hope a genuine, material convalescence had 
commenced. It was not merely Caroline's smile which was 
brighter, or her spirits which were cheered, but a certain look 
had passed from her face and eye a look dread and unde- 
scribable, but which will easily be recalled by those who 
have watched the couch of dangerous disease. Long before 
the emaciated outlines of her aspect began to fill, or its de- 
parted colour to return, a more subtle change took place : all 
grew softer and warmer. Instead of a marble mask and 
glassy eye, Mrs. Pryor saw laid on the pillow a face pale 
and wasted enough, perhaps more haggard than the other 
appearance, but less awful ; for it was a sick, living girl- 
not a mere white mould, or rigid piece of statuary. 



Now, too, she was not always petitioning to drink. The 
words ' I am so thirsty,' ceased to be her plaint. Sometimes, 
when she had swallowed a morsel, she would say it had re- 
vived her : all descriptions of food were no longer equally 
distasteful ; she could be induced, sometimes, to indicate a 
preference. With what trembling pleasure and anxious care 
did not her nurse prepare what was selected ! How she 
watched her as she partook of it ! 

Nourishment brought strength. She could sit up. Then 
she longed to breathe the fresh air, to revisit her flowers, to see 
how the fruit had ripened. Her uncle, always liberal, had 
bought a garden-chair for her express use : he carried her 
down in his own arms, and placed her in it himself, and 
William Farren was there to wheel her round the walks, to 
show her what he had done amongst her plants, to take her 
directions for further work. 

William and she found plenty to talk about : they had a 
dozen topics in common ; interesting to them, unimportant 
to the rest of the world. They took a similar interest 
in animals, birds, insects, and plants : they held similar 
doctrines about humanity to the lower creation ; and had a 
similar turn for minute observation on points of natural 
history. The nest and proceedings of some ground-bees, 
which had burrowed in the turf under an old cherry-tree, 
was one subject of interest : the haunts of certain hedge- 
sparrows, and the welfare of certain pearly eggs and callow 
fledglings, another. 

Had Chambcrs's Journal existed in those days, it would 
certainly have formed Miss Helstone's and Farren's favourite 
periodical. She would have subscribed for it ; and to him 
each number would duly have been lent : both would have 
put implicit faith, and found great savour in its marvellous 
anecdotes of animal sagacity. 

This is a digression ; but it suffices to explain why 
Caroline would have no other hand than William's to guide 
her chair, and why his society and conversation sufficed to 
give interest to her garden-airings. 


Mrs. Pryor, walking near, wondered how her daughter 
could be so much at ease with a ' man of the people.' She 
found it impossible to speak to him otherwise than stiffly. 
She felt as if a great gulf lay between her caste and his ; 
and that to cross it, or meet him half-way, would be to de- 
grade herself. She gently asked Caroline ' Are you not 
afraid, my dear, to converse with that person so unre- 
servedly ? He may presume, and become troublesomely 

' William presume, mamma ? You don't know him. He 
never presumes : he is altogether too proud and sensitive to 
do so. William has very fine feelings.' 

And Mrs. Pryor smiled sceptically at the naive notion of 
that rough-handed, rough-headed, fustian-clad clown having 
' fine feelings.' 

Farren, for his part, showed Mrs. Pryor only a very sulky 
brow. He knew when he was misjudged, and was apt to 
turn unmanageable with such as failed to give him his due. 

The evening restored Caroline entirely to her mother, 
and Mrs. Pryor liked the evening ; for then, alone with her 
daughter, no human shadow came between her and what she 
loved. During the day she would have her stiff demeanour 
and cool moments, as was her wont. Between her and Mr. 
Helstone a very respectful but most rigidly ceremonious 
intercourse was kept up : anything like familiarity would 
have bred contempt at once in one or both these personages ; 
but by dint of strict civility and well-maintained distance, 
they got on very smoothly. 

Towards the servants, Mrs. Pryor's bearing was not 
uncourteous, but shy, freezing, ungenial. Perhaps it was 
diffidence rather than pride which made her appear so 
haughty ; but, as was to be expected, Fanny and Eliza 
failed to make the distinction, and she was unpopular with 
them accordingly. She felt the effect produced : it rendered 
her at times dissatisfied with herself for faults she could 
not help ; and with all else, dejected, chill, and taciturn. 
This mood changed to Caroline's influence, and to that 


influence alone. The dependent fondness of her nursling, 
the natural affection of her child, came over her suavely : her 
frost fell away ; her rigidity unbent : she grew smiling and 
pliant. Not that Caroline made any wordy profession of 
love that would ill have suited Mrs. Pryor: she would 
have read therein the proof of insincerity ; but she hung on 
her with easy dependence ; she confided in her with fearless 
reliance : these things contented the mother's heart. 

She liked to hear her daughter say ' Mamma, do this.' 
1 Please, mamma, fetch me that.' ' Mamma, read to me.' 
1 Sing a little, mamma.' 

Nobody else not one living thing had ever so claimed 
her services, so looked for help at her hand. Other people 
were always more or less reserved and stiff with her, as she 
was reserved and stiff with them ; other people betrayed 
consciousness of, and annoyance at her weak points : Caroline 
no more showed such wounding sagacity or reproachful 
sensitiveness now, than she had done when a suckling of 
three mouths old. 

Yet Caroline could find fault. Blind to the constitu- 
tional defects that were incurable, she had her eyes wide 
open to the acquired habits that were susceptible of remedy. 
On certain points she would quite artlessly lecture her 
parent ; and that parent, instead of being hurt, felt a sensa- 
tion of pleasure in discovering that the girl dared lecture her ; 
that she was so much at home with her. 

' Mamma, I am determined you shall not wear that old 
gown any more ; its fashion is not becoming : it is too 
straight in the skirt. You shall put on your black silk every 
afternoon ; in that you look nice : it suits you ; and you 
shall have a black satin dress for Sundays a real satin- 
not a satinet or any of the shams. And, mamma, when 
you get the new one, mind you must wear it.' 

' My dear, I thought of the black silk serving me as a 
b.;st dress for many years yet, and I wished to buy you 
several things.' 

' Nonsense, mamma : my uncle gives me cash to get 


what I want : you know he is generous enough ; and I 
have set my heart on seeing you in a black satin. Get it 
soon, and let it be made by a dressmaker of my recommend- 
ing ; let me choose the pattern. You always want to 
disguise yourself like a grandmother : you would persuade 
one that you are old and ugly, not at all ! On the con- 
trary, when well dressed and cheerful, you are very comely 
indeed. Your smile is so pleasant, your teeth are so white, 
your hair is still such a pretty light colour. And then you 
speak like a young lady, with such a clear, fine tone, and 
you sing better than any young lady I ever heard. Why 
do you wear such dresses and bonnets, mamma, such as 
nobody else ever wears ? ' 

' Does it annoy you, Caroline ? ' 

' Very much : it vexes me even. People say you are 
miserly ; and yet you are not, for you give liberally to the 
poor and to religious societies : though your gifts are 
conveyed so secretly and quietly, that they are known to 
few except the receivers. But I will be your maid myself : 
when I get a little stronger I will set to work, and you must 
be good, mamma, and do as I bid you.' 

And Caroline, sitting near her mother, re-arranged her 
muslin handkerchief, and re-smoothed her hair. 

' My own mamma,' then she went on, as if pleasing 
herself with the thought of their relationship, ' who belongs 
to me, and to whom I belong ! I am a rich girl now : I 
have something I can love well, and not be afraid of loving. 
Mamma, who gave you this little brooch? Let me unpin 
it and look at it.' 

Mrs. Pryor, who usually shrank from meddling fingers 
and near approach, allowed the licence complacently. 

' Did papa give you this, mamma? ' 

' My sister gave it me my only sister, Gary. Would 
that your aunt Caroline had lived to see her niece ! ' 

'Have you nothing of papa's? no trinket, no gift 
of his ? ' 

' I have one thing.' 


' That you prize ? ' 

' That I prize.' 

1 Valuable and pretty ? ' 

' Invaluable and sweet to me.' 

' Show it, mamma. Is it here or at Fieldhead ? ' 

' It is talking to me now,- leaning on me : its arms are 
round me." 

' Ah, mamma ! you mean your teasing daughter, who 
will never let you alone ; who, when you go into your room, 
cannot help running to seek for you ; who follows you 
up-stairs and down, like a dog.' 

' Whose features still give me such a strange thrill some- 
times. I half fear your fair looks yet, child.' 

' You don't ; you can't. Mamma, I am sorry papa was 
not good : I do so wish he had been. Wickedness spoils 
and poisons all pleasant things : it kills love. If you and I 
thought each other wicked, we could not love each other, 
could we ? ' 

' And if we could not brust each other, Gary ? ' 

1 How miserable we should be ! Mother, before I knew 
you, I had an apprehension that you were not good, that I 
could not esteem you : that dread damped my wish to see 
you ; and now my heart is elate because I find you perfect, 
almost ; kind, clever, nice. Your sole fault is that you 
are old-fashioned, and of that I shall cure you. Mamma, 
put your work down : read to me. I like your southern 
accent : it is so pure, so soft. It has no rugged burr, no nasal 
twang, such as almost every one's voice here in the north 
has. My uncle and Mr. Hall say that you are a fine reader, 
mamma. Mr. Hall said he never heard any lady read with 
such propriety of expression, or purity of accent.' 

' I wish I could reciprocate the compliment, Gary ; but 
really, the first time I heard your truly excellent friend read 
and preach, I could not understand his broad, northern 

' Could you understand me, mamma? Did I seem to 
speak roughly ? ' 


' No : I almost wished you had, as I wished you had 
looked unpolished. Your father, Caroline, naturally spoke 
well ; quite otherwise than your worthy uncle : correctly, 
gently, smoothly. You inherit the gift.' 

' Poor papa I When he was so agreeable, why was he 
not good ? ' 

'Why, he was as he was and, happily, of that you, 
child, can form no conception I cannot tell : it is a deep 
mystery. The key is in the hands of his Maker : there I 
leave it.' 

' Mamma, you will keep stitching, stitching away : put 
down the sewing ; I am an enemy to it. It cumbers your 
lap, and I want it for my head : it engages your eyes, and I 
want them for a book. Here is your favourite Cowper.' 

These importunities were the mother's pleasure. If 
ever she delayed compliance, it was only to hear them 
repeated, and to enjoy her child's soft, half-playful, half- 
petulant urgency. And then, when she yielded, Caroline 
would say, archly, ' You will spoil me, mamma. I always 
thought I should like to be spoiled, and I find it very 

So did Mrs. Pryor. 



BY the time the Fieldhead party returned to Briarfield, 
Caroline was nearly well. Miss Keeldar, who had received 
news by post of her fz'iend's convalescence, hardly suffered 
an hour to elapse between her arrival at home and her first 
call at the Rectory. 

A shower of rain was falling gently, yet fast, on the late 
flowers and russet autumn shrubs, when the garden-wicket 
was heard to swing open, and Shirley's well-known form 
passed the window. On her entrance, her feelings were 
evinced in her own peculiar fashion. When deeply moved, 
by serious fears or joys, she was not garrulous. The strong 
emotion was rarely suffered to influence her tongue ; and 
even her eye refused it more than a furtive and fitful 
conquest. She took Caroline in her arms, gave her one 
look, one kiss, then said ' You are better.' 

And a minute after ' I see you are safe now, but take 
care. God grant your health may be called on to sustain 
no more shocks ! ' 

She proceeded to talk fluently about the journey. In 
the midst of vivacious discourse, her eye still wandered to 
Caroline : there spoke in its light a deep solicitude, some 
trouble, and some amaze. 

' She may be better,' it said ; ' but how weak she still is ! 
What peril she has come through ! ' 

Suddenly her glance reverted to Mrs. Pryor : it pierced 
her through. 

' When will my governess return to me ? ' she asked. 


' May I tell her all ? ' demanded Caroline of her mother. 
Leave being signified by a gesture, Shirley was presently 
enlightened on what had happened in her absence. 

' Very good ! ' was the cool comment. ' Very good ! But 
it is no news to me.' 

' What ! Did you know ? ' 

' I guessed long since the whole business. I have heard 
somewhat of Mrs. Pryor's history not from herself, but 
from others. With every detail of Mr. James Helstone's 
career and character I was acquainted : an afternoon's sitting 
and conversation with Miss Mann had rendered me familiar 
therewith : also he is one of Mrs. Yorke's warning-examples 
one of the blood-red lights she hangs out to scare young 
ladies from matrimony. I believe I should have been scep- 
tical about the truth of the portrait traced by such fingers 
both these ladies take a dark pleasure in offering to view the 
dark side of life but I questioned Mr. Yorke on the subject, 
and he said " Shirley, my woman, if you want to know 
aught about yond' James Helstone, I can only say he was a 
man-tiger. He was handsome, dissolute, soft, treacherous, 
courteous, cruel Don't cry, Gary ; we'll say no more 

about it.' 

' I am not crying, Shirley; or if I am, it is nothing go 
on : you are no friend if you withhold from me the truth : I 
hate that false plan of disguising, mutilating the truth.' 

' Fortunately, I have said pretty nearly all that I have to 
pay, except that your uncle himself confirmed Mr. Yorke's 
words : for he too scorns a lie, and deals in none of those 
conventional subterfuges that are shabbier than lies.' 

4 But papa is dead : they should let him alone now.' 

' They should and we will let him alone. Cry away, 
Cary, it will do you good : it is wrong to check natural tears ; 
besides, I choose to please myself by sharing an idea that at 
this moment beams in your mother's eye while she looks at 
you : every drop blots out a sin. Weep your tears have the 
virtue which the rivers of Damascus lacked : like Jordan, they 
can cleanse a leprous memory.' 


' Madam,' she continued, addressing Mrs. Pryor, ' did you 
think I could be daily in the habit of seeing you and your 
daughter together marking your marvellous similarity in 
many points observing, pardon me your irrepressible 
emotions in the presence, and still more in the absence of 
your child, and not form my own conjectures ? I formed 
them, and they are literally correct. I shall begin to think 
myself shrewd.' 

' And you said nothing ? ' observed Caroline, who soon 
regained the quiet control of her feelings. 

' Nothing. I had no warrant to breathe a word on the 
subject. My business it was not : I abstained from making 
it such.' 

' You guessed so deep a secret, and did not hint that you 
guessed it ? ' 

'Is that so difficult?' 

1 It is not like you.' 

' How do you know ? ' 

I You are not reserved. You are frankly communicative.' 

I 1 may be communicative, yet know where to stop. In 
showing my treasure, I may withhold a gem or two a curious, 
unbought, graven stone an amulet, of whose mystic glitter 
I rarely permit even myself a glimpse. Good-day.' 

Caroline thus seemed to get a view of Shirley's character 
under a novel aspect. Erelong, the prospect was renewed : 
it opened upon her. 

No sooner had she regained sufficient strength to bear a 
change of scene the excitement of a little society than Miss 
Keeldar sued daily for her presence at Fieldhead. Whether 
Shirley had become wearied of her honoured relatives is not 
known : she did not say she was ; but she claimedand retained 
Caroline with an eagerness which proved that an addition to 
that worshipful company was not unwelcome. 

The Sympsons were Church people : of course, the Rec- 
tor's niece was received by them with courtesy. Mr. Sympson 
proved to be a man of spotless respectability, worrying temper, 
pious principles, and worldly views ; his lady was a very 


good woman, patient, kind, well-bred. She had been brought 
up on a narrow system of views starved on a few prejudices : 
a mere handful of bitter herbs ; a few preferences, soaked till 
their natural flavour was extracted, and with no seasoning 
added in the cooking ; some excellent principles, made up in 
a stiff raised-crust of bigotry, difficult to digest : far too sub- 
missive was she to complain of this diet, or to ask for a crumb 
beyond it. 

The daughters were an example to their sex. They were 
tall, with a Roman nose a-piece. They had been educated 
faultlessly. All they did was well done. History, and the 
most solid books, had cultivated their minds. Principles and 
opinions they possessed which could not be mended. More 
exactly-regulated lives, feelings, manners, habits, it would 
have been difficult to find anywhere. They knew by heart 
a certain young-ladies'-school-roora code of laws on language, 
demeanour, &c.; themselves never deviated from its curious 
little pragmatical provisions ; and they regarded with secret, 
whispered horror, all deviations in others. The Abomination 
of Desolation was no mystery to them : they had discovered 
that unutterable Thing in the characteristic others call Origi- 
nality. Quick were they to recognise the signs of this evil ; 
and wherever they saw its trace whether in look, word, or 
deed ; whether they read it in the fresh, vigorous style of a 
book, or listened to it in interesting, unhackneyed, pure, ex- 
pressive language they shuddered they recoiled : danger 
was above their heads peril about their steps. What was 
this strange thing? Being unintelligible, it must be bad. 
Let it be denounced and chained up. 

Henry Sympson the only son, and youngest child of the 
family was a boy of fifteen. He generally kept with hia 
tutor ; when he left him, he sought his cousin Shirley. This 
boy differed from his sisters ; he was little, lame, and pale ; 
his large eyes shone somewhat languidly in a wan orbit : they 
were, indeed, usually rather dim but they were capable of 
illumination : at times, they could not only shine, but blaze : 
inward emotiou qould likewise give colour to his cheek and 


decision to his crippled movements. Henry's mother loved 
him ; she thought his peculiarities were a mark of election : 
he was not like other children, she allowed ; she believed him 
regenerate a new Samuel called of God from his birth : 
he was to be a clergyman. Mr. and the Misses Sympson, 
not understanding the youth, let him much alone. Shirley 
made him her pet ; and he made Shirley his playmate. 

In the midst of this family-circle or rather outside it 
moved the tutor the satellite. 

Yes : Louis Moore was a satellite of the house of Symp- 
son : connected, yet apart ; ever attendant ever distant. 
Each member of that correct family treated him with proper 
dignity. The father was austerely civil, sometimes irritable ; 
the mother, being a kind woman, was attentive, but formal ; 
the daughters saw in him an abstraction, not a man. It 
seemed, by their manner, that their brother's tutor did not 
live for them. They were learned : so was he but not for them. 
They were accomplished : he had talents too, imperceptible 
to their senses. The most spirited sketch from his fingers 
was a blank to their eyes ; the most original observation from 
his lips fell unheard on their ears. Nothing could exceed the 
propriety of their behaviour. 

I should have said, nothing could have equalled it ; but I 
remember a fact which strangely astonished Caroline Hel- 
stone. It was to discover that her cousin had absolutely 
no sympathizing friend at Fieldhead : that to Miss Keeldar 
he was as much a mere teacher, as little a gentleman, as little 
a man, as to the estimable Misses Sympson. 

What had befallen the kind-hearted Shirley that she 
should be so indifferent to the dreary position of a fellow- 
creature thus isolate.! under her roof ? She was not, perhaps, 
haughty to him, but she never noticed him : she let him alone. 
He came and went, spoke or was silent, and she rarely 
recognised his existence. 

As to Louis Moore himself, he had the air of a man used 
to this life, and who had made up his mind to bear it for a 
time. His faculties seemed walled up in him, and were 


Unmurmuring in their captivity. He never laughed ; he 
seldom smiled, he was uncomplaining. He fulfilled the 
round of his duties scrupulously. His pupil loved him ; he 
asked nothing more than civility from the rest of the world. 
It even appeared that he would accept nothing more : in that 
abode at least ; for when his cousin Caroline made gentle 
overtures of friendship, he did not encourage them ; he 
rather avoided than sought her. One living thing alone, 
besides his pale, crippled scholar, he fondled in the house, and 
that was the ruffianly Tartar ; who, sullen and impracticable 
to others, acquired a singular partiality for him : a partiality 
so marked that sometimes, when Moore, summoned to a meal, 
entered the room and sat down unwelcomed, Tartar would 
rise from his lair at Shirley's feet, and betake himself to the 
taciturn tutor. Once but once she noticed the desertion ; 
and holding out her white hand, and speaking softly, tried to 
coax him back. Tartar looked, slavered, and sighed, as his 
manner was, but yet disregarded the invitation, and coolly 
settled himself on his haunches at Louis Moore's side. That 
gentleman drew the dog's big, black-muzzled head on to his 
knee, patted him, and smiled one little smile to himself. 

An acute observer might have remarked, in the course of 
the same evening, that after Tartar had resumed his allegi- 
ance to Shirley, and was once more couched near her foot- 
stool, the audacious tutor by one word and gesture fascinated 
him again. He pricked up his ears at the word ; he started 
erect at the gesture, and came, with head lovingly depressed, 
to receive the expected caress : as it was given, the signi- 
ficant smile again rippled across Moore's quiet face. 

' Shirley,' said Caroline, one day, as they two were 
sitting alone in the summer-house, ' did you know my 
cousin Louis was tutor in your uncle's family before the 
Sympsons came down here ? ' 

Shirley's reply was not so prompt as her responses usually 


were, but at last she answered, ' Yes, of course : I knew it 

'I thought you must have been aware of the circum- 

' Well ! what then ? ' 

' It puzzles me to guess how it chanced that you never 
mentioned it to me.' 

1 Why should it puzzle you ? ' 

' It seems odd. I cannot account for it. You talk a 
great deal, you talk freely. How was that circumstance 
never touched on ? ' 

' Because it never was/ and Shirley laughed. 

' You are a singular being ! ' observed her friend : ' I 
thought I knew you quite well : I begin to find myself mis- 
taken. You were silent as the grave about Mrs. Pryor ; 
and now, again, here is another secret. But why you made 
it a secret is the mystery to me.' 

' I never made it a secret : I had no reason for so doing. 
If you had asked me who Henry's tutor was, I would have 
told you : besides, I thought you knew.' 

' I am puzzled about more things than one in this matter : 
you don't like poor Louis, why? Are you impatient at 
what you perhaps consider his servile position? Do 
you wish that Robert's brother were more highly placed ? ' 

' Robert's brother, indeed ! ' was the exclamation, uttered 
in a tone like the accents of scorn ; and, with a movement of 
proud impatience, Shirley snatched a rose from a branch 
peeping through the open lattice. 

' Yes,' repeated Caroline, with mild firmness ; ' Robert's 
brother. He is thus closely related to Gerard Moore of the 
Hollow, though nature has not given him features so 
handsome, or an air so noble as his kinsman ; but his 
blood is as good, and he is as much a gentleman, were he 

' Wise, humble, pious Caroline ! ' exclaimed Shirley, 
ironically. ' Men and angels, hear her ! We should not 
despise plain features, nor a laborious yet honest occupation, 


should we? Look at the subject of your panegyric, he is 
there in the garden,' she continued, pointing through an 
aperture in the clustering creepers ; and by that aperture 
Louis Moore was visible, coming slowly down the walk. 

' He is not ugly, Shirley,' pleaded Caroline ; ' he is not 
ignoble ; he is sad : silence seals his mind ; but I believe 
him to be intelligent, and be certain, if he had not something 
very commendable in his disposition, Mr. Hall would never 
seek his society as he does.' 

Shirley laughed : she laughed again ; each time with a 
slightly sarcastic sound. 

' Well, well,' was her comment. ' On the plea of the 
man being Cyril Hall's friend and Eobert Moore's brother, 
we'll just tolerate his existence won't we, Gary? You 
believe him to be intelligent, do you ? Not quite an idiot 
eh ? Something commendable in his disposition ! id est, 
not an absolute ruffian. Good ! Your representations have 
weight with me ; and to prove that they have, should he come 
this way I will speak to him.' 

He approached the summer-house : unconscious that it 
was tenanted, he sat down on the step. Tartar, now his 
customary companion, had followed him, and he crouched 
across his feet. 

' Old boy ! ' said Louis, pulling his tawny ear, or rather 
the mutilated remains of that organ, torn and chewed in a 
hundred battles, ' the autumn sun shines as pleasantly on us 
as on the fairest and richest. This garden is none of ours, 
but we enjoy its greenness and perfume, don't we? ' 

He sat silent, still caressing Tartar, who slobbered with 
exceeding affection. A faint twittering commenced among 
the trees round : something fluttered down as light as 
leaves : they were little birds, which, lighting on the sward 
at shy distance, hopped as if expectant. 

' The small brown elves actually remember that I fed 
them the other day,' again soliloquized Louis. ' They want 
some more biscuit : to-day, I forgot to save a fragment. 
Eager little sprites, I have not a crumb for you.' 


He put his hand in his pocket and drew it out empty. 

' A want easily supplied,' whispered the listening Miss 

She took from her reticule a morsel of sweet-cake : for 
that repository was never destitute of something available to 
throw to the chickens, young ducks, or sparrows ; she 
crumbled it, and bending over his shoulder, put the crumbs 
into his hand. 

' There,' said she ; ' there is a Providence for the impro- 

' This September afternoon is pleasant,' observed Louis 
Moore, as not at all discomposed he calmly cast the 
crumbs on to the grass. 

' Even for you ? ' 

1 As pleasant for me as for any monarch.' 

' You take a sort of harsh, solitary triumph in drawing 
pleasure out of the elements, and the inanimate and lower 
animate creation.' 

' Solitary, but not harsh. With animals I feel I am 
Adam's son ; the heir of him to whom dominion was given 
over " every living thing that moveth upon the earth." 
Your dog likes and follows me ; when I go into that yard, 
the pigeons from your dove-cot flutter at my feet; your 
mare in the stable knows me as well as it knows you, and 
obeys me better.' 

' And my roses smell sweet to you, and my trees give you 

' And,' continued Louis, ' no caprice can withdraw these 
pleasures from me : they are mine.' 

He walked off: Tartar followed him, as if in duty and 
affection bound, and Shirley remained standing on the 
summer-house step. Caroline saw her face as she looked 
after the rude tutor : it was pale, as if her pride bled 

' You see,' remarked Caroline, apologetically, ' his feelings 
are so often hurt, it makes him morose.' 

' You see,' retorted Shirley, with ire, ' he is a topic on 


which you and I shall quarrel if we discuss it often ; so drop 
it henceforward and for ever.' 

' I suppose he has more than once behaved in this way,' 
thought Caroline to herself ; ' and that renders Shirley so 
distant to him : yet I wonder she cannot make allowance 
for character and circumstances : I wonder the general 
modesty, manliness, sincerity of his nature, do not plead 
with her in his behalf. She is not often so inconsiderate 
so irritable.' 

The verbal testimony of two friends of Caroline's to her 
cousin's character augmented her favourable opinion of him. 
William Farren, whose cottage he had visited in company 
with Mr. Hall, pronounced him a ' real gentleman : ' there 
was not such another in Briarfield : he William ' could 
do aught for that man. And then to see how t' bairns liked 
him, and how t' wife took to him first minute she saw him : 
he never went into a house but t' childer wor about him 
directly : them little things wor like as if they'd a keener 
sense nor grown-up folks i' finding out folk's natures.' 

Mr. Hall, in answer to a question of Miss Helstone's, as 
to what he thought of Louis Moore, replied promptly, that 
he was the best fellow he had met with since he left 

' But he is so grave,' objected Caroline. 

' Grave ! The finest company in the world ! Full of 
odd, quiet, out-of-the-way humour. Never enjoyed an 
excursion so much in my life as the one I took with him to 
the Lakes. His understanding and tastes are so superior, it 
does a man good to be within their influence ; and as to 
his temper and nature, I call them fine.' 

' At Fieldhead he looks gloomy, and, I believe, has the 
character of being misanthropical.' 

' Oh ! I fancy he is rather out of place there in a false 
position. The Sympsons are most estimable people, but 
not the folks to comprehend him : they think a great deal 


about form and ceremony, which are quite out of Louis's 

1 1 don't think Miss Keeldar likes him.' 

1 She doesn't know him she doesn't know him ; other- 
wise, she has sense enough to do justice to his merits.' 

' Well, I suppose she doesn't know him,' mused Caroline 
to herself, and by this hypothesis she endeavoured to 
account for what seemed else unaccountable. But such 
simple solution of the difficulty was not left her long : she 
was obliged to refuse Miss Keeldar even this negative excuse 
for her prejudice. 

One day she chanced to be in the school-room with 
Henry Sympson, whose amiable and affectionate disposition 
had quickly recommended him to her regard. The boy was 
busied about some mechanical contrivance : his lameness 
made him fond of sedentary occupation : he began to 
ransack his tutor's desk for a piece of wax, or twine, 
necessary to his work. Moore happened to be absent. Mr. 
Hall, indeed, had called for him to take a long walk. Henry 
could not immediately find the object of his search : he 
rummaged compartment after compartment ; and, at last 
opening an inner drawer, he came upon not a ball of cord, 
or a lump of bees'-wax but a little bundle of small marole- 
coloured cahiers, tied with tape. Henry looked at them. 

' What rubbish Mr. Moore stores up in his desk ! ' he 
said : ' I hope he won't keep my old exercises so carefully.' 

' What is it ? ' 

' Old copy-books.' 

He threw the bundle to Caroline. The packet looked so 
neat externally, her curiosity was excited to see its contents. 
If they are only copy-books, I suppose I may open 
them ? ' 

' Oh ! yes ; quite freely. Mr. Moore's desk is half mine 
for he lets me keep all sorts of things in it and I give 
you leave.' 

On scrutiny they proved to be French compositions, 
written in a hand peculiar but compact, and exquisitely 


clean and clear. The writing was recognisable : she 
scarcely needed the further evidence of the name signed at 
the close of each theme, to tell her whose they were. Yet 
that name astonished her : ' Shirley Keeldar, Sympson 

Grove, shire ' (a southern county), and a date four 

years back. 

She tied up the packet, and held it in her hand, medi- 
tating over it. She half felt as if, in opening it, she had 
violated a confidence. 

' They are Shirley's, you see,' said Henry, carelessly. 

' Did you give them to Mr. Moore ? She wrote them 
with Mrs. Pryor, I suppose ? ' 

I She wrote them in my school-room at Sympson Grove, 
when she lived with us there. Mr. Moore taught her 
French : it is his native language.' 

I 1 know .... Was she a good pupil, Henry ? ' 

1 She was a wild, laughing thing, but pleasant to have 
in the room : she made lesson-time charming. She learned 
fast you could hardly tell when or how. French was 
nothing to her : she spoke it quick quick ; as quick as 
Mr. Moore himself.' 

' Was she obedient ? Did she give trouble ? ' 

' She gave plenty of trouble in a way : she was giddy, 
but I liked her. I'm desperately fond of Shirley.' 

' Desperately fond you small simpleton ! You don't 
know what you say.' 

' I am desperately fond of her : she is the light of my 
eyes : I said so to Mr. Moore last night.' 

' He would reprove you for speaking with exaggeration.' 

' He didn't. He never reproves and reproves, as girls' 
governesses do. He was reading, and he only smiled into 
his book, and said that if Miss Keeldar was no more than 
that, she was less than he took her to be ; for I was but a 
dim-eyed, short-sighted little chap. I'm afraid I am a poor 
unfortunate, Miss Caroline Helstone. 1 am a cripple, you 

' Never mind, Henry, you are a very nice little fellow ; 


and if God has not given you health and strength, He has 
given you a good disposition, and an excellent heart and 

' I shall be despised. I sometimes think both Shirley 
and you despise me." 

' Listen, Henry. Generally, I don't like school-boys : I 
have a great horror of them. They seem to me little 
ruffians, who take an unnatural delight in killing and 
tormenting birds, and insects, and kittens, and whatever is 
weaker than themselves ; but you are so different, I am 
quite fond of you. You have almost as much sense as a 
man (far more, God wot,' she muttered to herself, ' than 
many men) ; you are fond of reading, and you can talk 
sensibly about what you read.' 

' I am fond of reading. I know I have sense, and I know 
I have feeling.' 

Miss Keeldar here entered. 

' Henry,' she said, ' I have brought your lunch here : I 
shall prepare it for you myself.' 

She placed on the table a glass of new milk, a plate of 
something which looked not unlike leather, and a utensil 
which resembled a toasting-fork. 

' What are you two about,' she continued, ' ransacking 
Mr. Moore's desk ? ' 

' Looking at your old copy-books,' returned Caroline. 

' My old copy-books ? ' 

1 French exercise-books. Look here ! They must be held 
precious : they are kept carefully.' 

She showed the bundle. Shirley snatched it up : ' Did 
not know one was in existence,' she said. ' I thought the 
whole lot had long since lit the kitchen-fire, or curled the 
maid's hair at Sympson Grove. What made you keep them, 
Henry ? ' 

' It is not my doing : I should not have thought of it : 
it never entered my head to suppose copy-books of value. 
Mr. Moore put them by in the inner drawer of his desk : 
perhaps he forgot them.' 


1 C'est cela : he forgot them, no doubt,' echoed Shirley. 
' They are extremely well written,' she observed, com- 

' What a giddy girl you were, Shirley, in those days ! I 
remember you so well : a slim, light creature whom, though 
you were so tall, I could lift off the floor. I see you with 
your long, countless curls on your shoulders, and your 
streaming sash. You used to make Mr. Moore lively, that 
is, at first : I believe you grieved him after a while.' 

Shirley turned the closely written pages and said 
nothing. Presently she observed, ' That was written one 
winter afternoon. It was a description of a snow-scene.' 

' I remember,' said Henry ; ' Mr. Moore, when he read 
it, cried " Voila le Francais gagn6 ! " He said it was well 
done. Afterwards, you made him draw, in sepia, the land- 
scape you described.' 

' You have not forgotten then, Hal ? ' 

' Not at all. We were all scolded that day for not 
coming down to tea when called. I can remember my tutor 
sitting at his easel, and you standing behind him, holding 
the candle, and watching him draw the snowy cliff, the 
pine, the deer couched under it, and the half-moon hung 

' Where are his drawings, Henry ? Caroline should see 

' In his portfolio : but it is padlocked : he has the key.' 

' Ask him for it when he comes in.' 

' You should ask him, Shirley ; you are shy of him now : 
you are grown a proud lady to him, I notice that.' 

' Shirley, you are a real enigma,' whispered Caroline in 
her ear. ' What queer discoveries I make day by day 
now ! I, who thought I had your confidence. Inexplicable 
creature ! even this boy reproves you.' 

'I have forgotten " Auld Langsyne," you see, Harry,' 
said Miss Keeldar, answering young Sympson, and not 
heeding Caroline. 

' Which you never should have done. You don't 


deserve to be a man's morning star, if you have so short 
a memory.' 

' A man's morning star, indeed ! and by " a man " is 
meant your worshipful self, I suppose ? Come, drink your 
new milk while it is warm.' 

The young cripple rose and limped towards the fire ; he 
had left his crutch near the mantel-piece. 

' My poor lame darling ! ' murmured Shirley, in her 
softest voice, aiding him. 

' Whether do you like me or Mr. Sam Wynne best, 
Shirley ? ' inquired the boy, as she settled him in an arm- 

' Oh, Harry ! Sam Wynne is my aversion : you are my 

' Me or Mr. Malone ? ' 

' You again, a thousand times.' 

1 Yet, they are great whiskered fellows, six feet high 

' Whereas, as long as you live, Harry, you will never be, 
anything more than a little pale lameter.' 

' Yes, I know.' 

' You need not be sorrowful. Have I not often told, 
you who was almost as little, as pale, as suffering as you, 
and yet potent as a giant, and brave as a lion ? ' 

' Admiral Horatio ? ' 

1 Admiral Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Duke of Bronti ; 
great at heart as a Titan ; gallant and heroic as all the 
world and age of chivalry ; leader of the might of England ; 
commander of her strength on the deep; hurler of her 
thunder over the flood.' 

' A great man : but I am not warlike, Shirley : and yet 
my mind is so restless, I burn day and night for what I 
can hardly tell to be to do to suffer, I think.' 

1 Harry, it is your mind, which is stronger and older 
than your frame, that troubles you. It is a captive. It lies 
in physical bondage. But it will work its own redemption 
yet. Study carefully, not only books but the world. You 


love nature ; love her without fear. Be patient wait the 
course of time. You will not be a soldier or a sailor, 
Henry : but, if you live, you will be listen to my prophecy 
you will be an author perhaps, a poet.' 

' An author ! It is a flash a flash of light to me ! I 
will I will ! I'll write a book that I may dedicate it to 

' You will write it, that you may give your soul its 
natural release. Bless me ! what am I saying ? more than 
I understand, I believe, or can make good. Here, Hal ; 
here is your toasted oat-cake eat and live ! ' 

' Willingly ! ' here cried a voice outside the open 
window, ' I know that fragrance of meal bread. Miss 
Keeldar, may I come in and partake ? ' 

' Mr. Hall ' (it was Mr. Hall, and with him was Louis 
Moore, returned from their walk), ' there is a proper 
luncheon laid out in the dining-room, and there are proper 
people seated round it : you may join that society and share 
that fare if you please ; but if your ill-regulated tastes lead 
you to prefer ill-regulated proceedings, step in here, and do 
as we do.' 

' I approve the perfume, and therefore shall suffer myself 
to be led by the nose,' returned Mr. Hall, who presently 
entered, accompanied by Louis Moore. That gentleman's 
eye fell on his desk, pillaged. 

' Burglars ! ' said he. ' Henry, you merit the ferule.' 

' Give it to Shirley and Caroline they did it,' was alleged 
with more attention to effect than truth. 

' Traitor and false witness ! ' cried both the girls. ' We 
never laid hands on a thing, except in the spirit of laudable 

' Exactly so,' said Moore, with his rare smile. ' And 
what have you ferreted out, in your " spirit of laudable 
inquiry " ? ' 

He perceived the inner drawer open. 

1 This is empty/ said he. ' Who has taken 

'Here! here!' Caroline hastened to say; and she 


restored the little packet to its place. He shut it up ; he 
locked it in with a small key attached to his watch-guard ; 
he restored the other papers to order, closed the repository, 
and sat down without further remark. 

1 1 thought you would have scolded much more, sir/ 
said Henry. ' The girls deserve reprimand.' 

' I leave them to their own consciences.' 

'It accuses them of crimes intended as well as per- 
petrated, sir. If I had not been here, they would have treated 
your portfolio as they have done your desk ; but I told 
them it was padlocked.' 

' And will you have lunch with us ? ' here interposed 
Shirley, addressing Moore, and desirous, as it seemed, to 
turn the conversation. 

' Certainly, if I may.' 

' You will be restricted to new milk and Yorkshire oat- 

' Va pour le lait frais ! ' said Louis. ' But for your oat- 
cake ! ' and he made a grimace. 

' He cannot eat it,' said Henry : ' he thinks it is like 
bran, raised with sour yeast.' 

' Come, then, by special dispensation, we will allow him 
a few cracknels ; but nothing less homely.' 

The hostess rang the bell and gave her frugal orders, 
which were presently executed. She herself measured out 
the milk and distributed the bread round the cozy circle 
now enclosing the bright little school-room fire. She then 
took the post of toaster-general ; and kneeling on the rug, 
fork in hand, fulfilled her office with dexterity. Mr. Hall, 
who relished any homely innovation on ordinary usages, 
and to whom the husky oat-cake was from custom suave as 
manna seemed in his best spirits. He talked and laughed 
gleefully now with Caroline, whom he had fixed by his 
side, now with Shirley, and again with Louis Moore. And 
Louis met him in congenial spirit : he did not laugh much, 
but he uttered in the quietest tone the wittiest things. 
Gravely spoken sentences, marked by unexpected turns and 


a quite fresh flavour and poignancy, fell easily from his lips. 
He proved himself to be what Mr. Hall had said he was 
excellent company. Caroline marvelled at his humour, but 
still more at his entire self-possession. Nobody there 
present seemed to impose on him a sensation of unpleasant 
restraint : nobody seemed a bore a check a chill to him ; 
and yet there was the cool and lofty Miss Keeldar kneeling 
before the fire, almost at his feet. 

But Shirley was cool and lofty no longer at least not at 
this moment. She appeared unconscious of the humility of 
her present position or if conscious, it was only to taste a 
charm in its lowliness. It did not revolt her pride that the 
group to whom she voluntarily officiated as handmaid should 
include her cousin's tutor : it did not scare her that while 
she handed the bread and milk to the rest, she had to offer 
it to him also ; and Moore took his portion from her hand 
as calmly as if he had been her equal. 

' You are overheated now,' he said, when she had 
retained the fork for some time : ' let me relieve you.' 

And he took it from her with a sort of quiet authority, 
to which she submitted passively neither resisting him nor 
thanking him. 

1 1 should like to see your pictures, Louis,' said Caroline, 
when the sumptuous luncheon was discussed. ' Would not 
you, Mr. Hall ? ' 

' To please you, I should ; but, for rny own part, I have 
cut him as an artist. I had enough of him in that capacity 
in Cumberland and Westmoreland. Many a wetting we got 
amongst the mountains because he would persist in sitting 
on a camp-stool, catching effects of rain-clouds, gathering 
mists, fitful sunbeams, and what not.' 

' Here is the portfolio,' said Henry, bringing it in one 
hand, and leaning on his crutch with the other. 

Louis took it, but he still sat as if he wanted another to 
speak. It seemed as if he would not open it unless the 
proud Shirley deigned to show herself interested in the 


' He makes us wait to whet our curiosity/ she said. 

' You understand opening it,' observed Louis, giving her 
the key. ' You spoiled the lock for me once try now.' 

He held it : she opened it ; and, monopolizing the 
contents, had the fii'st view of every sketch herself. She 
enjoyed the treat if treat it were in silence, without a 
single comment. Moore stood behind her chair and looked 
over her shoulder, and when she had done, and the others 
were still gazing, he left his post and paced through the 

A carriage was heard in the lane the gate-bell rang : 
Shirley started. 

' There are callers,' she said, ' and I shall be summoned 
to the room. A pretty figure as they say I am to receive 
company : I and Henry have been in the garden gathering 
fruit half the morning. Oh, for rest under my own vine 
and my own fig-tree ! Happy is the slave wife of the 
Indian chief, in that she has no drawing-room duty to 
perform, but can sit at ease weaving mats, and stringing 
beads, and peacefully flattening her pickaninny's head in an 
unmolested corner of her wigwam. I'll emigrate to the 
western woods.' 

Louis Moore laughed. 

' To marry a White Cloud or a Big Buffalo ; and after 
wedlock to devote yourself to the tender task of digging 
your lord's maize field, while he smokes his pipe or drinks 

Shirley seemed about to reply, but here the school-room 
door unclosed, admitting Mr. Sympson. That personage 
stood aghast when he saw the group around the fire. 

' I thought you alone, Miss Keeldar,' he said. ' I find 
quite a party.' 

And evidently from his shocked, scandalized air had he 
not recognised in one of the party a clergyman he would 
have delivered an extempore philippic on the extraordinary 
habits of his niece : respect for the cloth arrested him. 

' I merely wished to announce,' he proceeded, coldly, ' that 


the family from De Waldcn Hall, Mr., Mrs., the Misses, and 
Mr. Sam Wynne, are in the drawing-room.' And he bowed 
and withdrew. 

'The family from De Walden Hall! Couldn't he a 
worse set,' murmured Shirley. 

She sat still, looking a little contumacious and very 
much indisposed to stir. She was flushed with the fire : her 
dark hair had been more than once dishevelled by the 
morning wind that day ; her attire was a light, neatly 
fitting, but amply flowing dress of muslin ; the shawl she 
had worn in the garden was still draped in a careless fold 
round her. Inrlolent, wilful, picturesque, and singularly 
pretty was her aspect prettier than usual, as if some soft 
inward emotion stirred who knows how? had given new 
bloom and expression to her features. 

'Shirley Shirley, you ought to go,' whispered Caroline. 

' I wonder why ? ' 

She lifted her eyes, and saw in the glass over the 
fireplace both Mr. Hall and Louis Moore gazing at her 

' If,' she said, with a yielding smile ' if a majority of 
the present company maintain that the De Walden Hall 
people have claims on my civility, I will subdue my inclina- 
tions to my duty. Let those who think I ought to go, hold 
up their hands.' 

Again consulting the mirror it reflected an unanimous 
vote against her. 

' You must go,' said Mr. Hall, ' and behave courteously, 
too. You owe many duties to society. It is not permitted 
you to please only yourself.' 

Louis Moore assented with a low ' I Fear ! hoar ! ' 

Caroline, approaching her, smoothed her wavy curls, gave 
to her attire a less artistic and more domestic grace, and 
Shirley was put oxit of the room, protesting still, by a 
pouting lip, against her dismissal. 

'There is a curious charm about her/ observed Mr. Hall, 
when she was gone. ' And now,' he added, ' I must away, 


for Sweeting is off to see his mother and there are two 

' Henry, get your books ; it is lesson-time,' said Moore, 
sitting down to his desk. 

' A curious charm ! ' repeated the pupil, when he and his 
master were left alone. ' True. Is she not a kind of white 
witch ? ' he asked. 

' Of whom are you speaking, sir ? ' 

' Of my cousin, Shirley.' 

' No irrelevant questions. Study in silence.' 

Mr. Moore looked and spoke sternly sourly. Henry 
knew this mood : it was a rare one with his tutor ; but when 
it came he had an awe of it : he obeyed. 



Miss KEELDAR and her uncle had characters that would not 
harmonize, that never had harmonized. He was irritable, 
and she was spirited : he was despotic, and she liked 
freedom ; he was worldly, and she, perhaps, romantic. 

Not without purpose had he come down to Yorkshire : 
his mission was clear, and he intended to discharge it 
conscientiously : he anxiously desired to have his niece 
married ; to make for her a suitable match ; give her in 
charge to a proper husband, and wash his hands of her for 

The misfortune was, from infancy upwards, Shirley and 
he had disagreed on the meaning of the words ' suitable ' 
and ' proper.' She never yet had accepted his definition ; 
and it was doubtful whether, in the most important step of 
her life, she would consent to accept it. 

The trial soon came. 

Mr. Wynne proposed in form for his sou, Samuel 
Fawthrop Wynne. 

' Decidedly suitable ! Most proper ! ' pronounced Mr. 
Sympson. ' A fine unencumbered estate : real substance ; 
good connections. It must be done ! ' 

He sent for his niece to the oak parlour ; he shut him- 
self up there with her alone ; he communicated the offer ; 
he gave his opinion ; he claimed her consent. 

It was withheld. 

1 No : I shall not marry Samuel Fawthrop Wynne.' 


' I ask why ? I must have a reason. In all respects he 
is more than worthy of you.' 

She stood on the hearth ; she was pale as the white 
marble slab and cornice behind her ; her eyes flashed large, 
dilated, unsmiling. 

' And I ask in what sense that young man is worthy of 
me ? ' 

' He has twice your money, twice your common sense ; 
equal connections, equal respectability.' 

1 Had he my money counted five score times, I would 
take no vow to love him.' 

' Please to state your objections.' 

' He has run a course of despicable, commonplace 
profligacy. Accept that as the first reason why I spurn 

' Miss Keeldar, you shock me ! ' 

' That conduct alone sinks him in a gulf of immeasurable 
inferiority. His intellect reaches no standard I can esteem : 
there is a second stumbling-block ; his views are narrow ; 
his feelings are blunt ; his tastes are coarse ; his manners 

' The man is a respectable, wealthy man. To refuse him 
is presumption on your part.' 

' I refuse, point-blank ! Cease to annoy me with the 
subject : I forbid it ! ' 

' Is it your intention ever to marry, or do you prefer 
celibacy ? ' 

' I deny your right to claim an answer to that question.' 

1 May I ask if you expect some man of title some peer 
of the realm to demand your hand ? ' 

' I doubt if the peer breathes on whom I would confer 

' Were there insanity in the family, I should believe you 
mad. Your eccentricity and conceit touch the verge of 

' Perhaps, ere I have finished, you will see me over- 
leap it.' 


' I anticipate no less. Frantic and impracticable girl ! 
Take warning ! I dare you to sully our name by a 
mesalliance ! ' 

' Our name ! Am I called Sympson ? ' 

' God be thanked that you are not ! But be on your 
guard ! I will not be trifled with ! ' 

' What, in the name of common law and common sense, 
would you, or could you do, if my pleasure led me to a 
choice you disapproved ? ' 

' Take care ! take care ! ' (warning her with voice and 
hand that trembled alike). 

' Why ? What shadow of power have you over me ? 
Why should I fear you ? ' 

' Take care, madam ! ' 

' Scrupulous care I will take, Mr. Sympson. Before I 
marry, I am resolved to esteem to admire to love' 

' Preposterous stuff ! indecorous unwomanly ! ' 

' To love with my whole heart. I know I speak in an 
unknown tongue ; but I feel indifferent whether I am com- 
prehended or not.' 

' And if this love of yours should fall on a beggar ? ' 

' On a beggar it will never fall. Mendicancy is not 

' On a low clerk, a play-actor, a play- writer, or or 

' Take courage, Mr. Sympson ! Or what ? ' 

1 Any literary scrub, or shabby, whining artist.' 

' For the scrubby, shabby, whining, I have no taste : for 
literature and the arts, I have. And there I wonder how 
your Fawthrop Wynne would suit me ? He cannot write a 
note without orthographical errors ; he reads only a sporting 
paper : he was the booby of Stilbro* grammar school ! ' 

' Unladylike language ! Great God !- to what will she 
come ? ' He lifted hands and eyes. 

' Never to the altar of Hymen with Sain Wynne.' 

' To what will she come? Why are not the laws more 
stringent, that I might compel her to hear reason ? ' 

' Console yourself, uncle. Were Britain a serfdom, and 


you the Czar, you could not compel me to this step. I will 
write to Mr. Wynne. Give yourself no further trouble on 
the subject.' 

Fortune is proverbially called changeful, yet her caprice 
often takes the form of repeating again and again a similar 
stroke of luck in the same quarter. It appeared that Miss 
Keeldar or her fortune had by this time made a sensation 
in the district, and produced an impression in quarters by 
her unthought of. No less than three offers followed Mr. 
Wynne's all more or less eligible. All were in succession 
pressed on her by her uncle, and all in succession she 
refused. Yet amongst them was more than one gentleman 
of unexceptionable character, as well as ample wealth. 
Many besides her uncle asked what she meant, and whom 
she expected to entrap, that she was so insolently fas- 

At last the gossips thought they had found the key to 
her conduct, and her uncle was sure of it; and, what is 
more, the discovery showed his niece to him in quite a 
new light, and he changed his whole deportment to her 

Fieldhead had, of late, been fast growing too hot to hold 
them both : the suave aunt could not reconcile them ; the 
daughters froze at the view of their quarrels : Gertrude and 
Isabella whispered by the hour together in their dressing- 
room, and became chilled with decorous dread if they 
chanced to be left alone with their audacious cousin. But, 
as I have said, a change supervened : Mr. Sympson was 
appeased and his family tranquillized. 

The village of Nunnely has been alluded to : its old 
church, its forest, its monastic ruins. It had also its Hall, 
called the Priory an older, a larger, a more lordly abode 
than any Briarfield or Whinbury owned ; and, what is 
more, it had its man of title its baronet, which neither 
Briarfield nor Whinbury could boast. This possession its 


proudest and most prized had for years been nominal 
only : the present baronet, a young man hitherto resident 
in a distant province, was unknown on his Yorkshire estate. 

During Miss Keeldar's stay at the fashionable watering- 
place of Cliffbridge, she and her friends had met with and 
been introduced to Sir Philip Nunnely. They encountered 
him again and again on the sands, the cliffs, in the various 
walks, sometimes at the public balls of the place. He 
seemed solitary ; his manner was very unpretending too 
simple to be termed affable ; rather timid than proud : he 
did not condescend to their society he seemed glad of it. 

With any unaffected individual, Shirley could easily and 
quickly cement an acquaintance. She walked and talked 
with Sir Philip ; she, her aunt, and cousins, sometimes took 
a sail in his yacht. She liked him because she found him 
kind and modest, and was charmed to feel she had the 
power to amuse him. 

One slight drawback there was where is the friendship 
without it ? Sir Philip had a literary turn : he wrote poetry, 
sonnets, stanzas, ballads. Perhaps Miss Keeldar thought 
him a little too fond of reading and reciting these composi- 
tions ; perhaps she wished the rhyme had possessed more 
accuracy the measure more music the tropes more fresh- 
ness the inspiration more fire ; at any rate, she always 
winced when he recurred to the subject of his poems, and 
usually did her best to divert the conversation into another 

He would beguile her to take moonlight walks with him 
on the bridge, for the sole purpose, as it seemed, of pouring 
into her ear the longest of his ballads : he would lead her 
away to sequestered rustic seats, whence the rush of the surf 
to the sands was heard soft and soothing ; and when he had 
her all to himself, and the sea lay before them, and the 
scented shade of gardens spread round, and the tall 
shelter of cliffs rose behind them, he would pull out his last 
batch of sonnets, and read them in a voice tremulous with 
emotion. He did not seem to know, that though they might 


be rhyme, they were not poetry. It appeared by Shirley's 
downcast eye and disturbed face that she knew it, and felt 
heartily mortified by the single foible of this good and 
amiable gentleman. 

Often she tried, as gentle as might be, to wean him from 
this fanatic worship of the Muses : it was his monomania 
on all ordinary subjects he was sensible enough ; and fain 
was she to engage him in ordinary topics. He questioned 
her sometimes about his place at Nunnely ; she was but too 
happy to answer his interrogatories at length : she never 
wearied of describing the antique Priory, the wild sylvan 
park, the hoary church and hamlet ; nor did she fail to 
counsel him to come down and gather his tenantry about 
him in his ancestral halls. 

Somewhat to her surprise Sir Philip followed her advice 
to the letter ; and actually, towards the close of September, 
arrived at the Priory. 

He soon made a call at Fieldhead, and his first visit was 
not his last : he said when he had achieved the round of 
the neighbourhood that under no roof had he found such 
pleasant shelter as beneath the massive oak beams of the 
grey manor-house of Briarfield : a cramped, modest dwelling 
enough, compared with his own but he liked it. 

Presently, it did not suffice to sit with Shirley in her 
panelled parlour, where others came and went, and where 
he could rarely find a quiet moment to show her the latest 
production of his fertile muse ; he must have her out 
amongst, the pleasant pastures, and lead her by the still 
waters. Tete-a-tete ramblings she shunned ; so he mado 
parties for her to his own grounds, his glorious forest ; to 
remoter scenes woods severed by the Wharfe, vales watered 
by the Aire. 

Such assiduity covered Miss Keeldar with distinction. 
Her uncle's prophetic soul anticipated a splendid future : he 
already scented the time afar off when, with nonchalant air, 
and left foot nursed on his right knee, he should be able 
to make dashingly familiar allusion to his ' nephew the 


baronet. 1 Now his niece dawned upon Lira no longer ' a 
mad girl,' but a ' most sensible woman.' He termed her, in 
confidential dialogues with Mrs. Sympson, ' a truly superior 
person : peculiar, but very clever.' He treated her with 
exceeding deference ; rose reverently to open and shut doors 
for her ; reddened his face, and gave himself headaches, with 
stooping to pick up gloves, handkerchief.-;, and other loose 
property, whereof Shirley usually held but insecure tenure. 
He would cut mysterious jokes about the superiority of 
woman's wit over man's wisdom ; commence obscure 
apologies for the blundering mistake he had committed 
respecting the generalship, the tactics, of ' a personage not 
a hundred miles from Fieldhead : ' in short, he seemed elate 
as any ' midden-cock on pattens.' 

His niece viewed his manoeuvres, and received his 
innuendoes, with phlegm : apparently, she did not above half 
comprehend to what aim they tended. When plainly 
charged with being the preferred of the baronet, she said, 
she believed he did like her, and for her part she liked him : 
she had never thought a man of rank the only son of a 
proud, fond mother the only brother of doting sisters 
could have so much goodness, and, on the whole, so much 

Time proved, indeed, that Sir Philip liked her. Perhaps 
he had found in her that ' curious charm ' noticed by Mr, 
Hall, He sought her presence more and more ; and, at last, 
with a frequency that attested it had beoome to him an 
indispensable stimulus. About this time strange feelings 
hovered round Fieldhead ; restless hopes and haggard 
anxieties haunted some of its rooms. There was an unquiut 
wandering of some of the inmates among the still lields 
round the mansion ; there was a sense of expectancy that 
kept the nerves strained. 

One thing seemed clear. Sir Philip w:is not a man to 
be despised : lie was amiable ; if not highly intellectual, he 
was intelligent. Miss Keeldav could not allinn of him 
what she had so bitterly afiiimed of Sam \Vynno that his 


feelings were blunt, his tastes coarse, and his manners 
vulgar. There was sensibility in his nature ; there was a 
very real, if not a very discriminating, love of the arts ; 
there was the English gentleman in all his deportment : as 
to his lineage and wealth, both were, of course, far beyond 
her claims. 

His appearance had at first elicited some laughing, 
though not ill-natured, remarks from the merry Shirley. It 
was boyish : his features were plain and slight ; his hair 
sandy ; his stature insignificant. But she soon checked her 
sarcasm on this point ; she would even fire up if any one 
else made uncomplimentary allusion thereto. He had ' a 
pleasing countenance,' she affirmed ; ' and there was that in 
his heart which was better than three Roman noses, than 
the locks of Absalom, or the proportions of Saul.' A spare 
and rare shaft she still reserved for his unfortunate poetic 
propensity : but, even here, she would tolerate no irony save 
her own. 

In short, matters had reached a point which seemed fully 
to warrant an observation made about this time by Mr. 
Yorke to the tutor, Louis. 

1 Yond' brother Bobert of yours seems to me to be either 
a fool or a madman. Two months ago, I could have sworn 
he had the game all in his own hands ; and there he runs 
the country, and quarters himself up in London for weeks 
together, and by the time he comes back he'll find himself 
checkmated. Louis, " There is a tide in the affairs of men, 
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ; " but, once 
let slip, never returns again. I'd write to Robert, if I were 
you, and remind him of that.' 

' Robert had views on Miss Keeldar ? ' inquired Louis, 
as if the idea were new to him. 

' Views I suggested to him myself, and views he might 
have realized, for she liked him.' 

' As a neighbour ? ' 

' As more than that. I have seen her change counten- 
ance and colour at the mere mention of his name. Write 


to the lad, I say, and tell him to come home. He is a finer 
gentleman than this bit of a baronet, after all.' 

' Does it not strike you, Mr. Yorke, that for a mere 
penniless adventurer to aspire to a rich woman's hand is 
presumptuous contemptible ? ' 

' Oh ! if you are for high notions, and double-refined 
sentiment, I've naught to say. I'm a plain, practical man 
myself ; and if Robert is willing to give up that royal 
prize to a lad-rival a puling slip of aristocracy I am quite 
agreeable. At his age, in his place, with his inducements, I 
would have acted differently. Neither baronet, nor duke, 
nor prince, should have snatched my sweetheart from me 
without a struggle. But you tutors are such solemn chaps : 
it is almost like speaking to a parson to consult with you.' 

Flattered and fawned upon as Shirley was just now, it 
appeared she was not absolutely spoiled that her better 
nature did not quite leave her. Universal report hat! 
indeed ceased to couple her name with that of Moore, and 
this silence seemed sanctioned by her own apparent oblivion 
of the absentee ; but that she had not quite forgotten him 
that she still regarded him, if not with love yet with interest 
-seemed proved by the increased attention which at this 
juncture of affairs a sudden attack of illness induced her to 
show that tutor-brother of Robert's to whom she habitually 
bore herself with strange alternations of cool reserve and 
docile respect : now sweeping past him in all the dignity of 
the moneyed heiress and prospective Lady Nunnely, and 
anon accosting him as abashed school-girls are wont to 
accost their stern professors : bridling her neck of ivory, and 
curling her lip of carmine, if he encountered her glance, one 
minute ; and the next submitting to the grave rebuke of his 
eye, with as much contrition as if he had the power to inflict 
penalties in case of contumacy. 

Louis Moore had perhaps caught the fever, which for a 
few days laid him low, in one of the poor cottages of the 


district, which he, his lame pupil, and Mr. Hall, were in the 
habit of visiting together. At any rate he sickened, and 
after opposing to the malady a taciturn resistance for a day 
or two, was obliged to keep his chamber. 

He lay tossing on his thorny bed one evening, Henry, 
who would not quit him, watching faithfully beside him, 
when a tap too light to be that of Mrs. Gill or the house- 
maid summoned young Sympson to the door. 

' How is Mr. Moore to-night ? ' asked a low voice from 
the dark gallery. 

' Come in and see him yourself.' 

' Is he asleep ? ' 

' I wish he could sleep. Come and speak to him, 

' He would not like it.' 

But the speaker stepped in, and Henry, seeing her 
hesitate on the threshold, took her hand and drew her to the 

The shaded light showed Miss Keeldar's form but 
imperfectly, yet it revealed her in elegant attire. There was 
a party assembled below, including Sir Philip Nunnely ; the 
ladies were now in the drawing-room, and their hostess had 
stolen from them to visit Henry's tutor. Her pure white 
dress, her fair arms and neck, the trembling chainlet of gold 
circling her throat, and quivering on her breast, glistened 
strangely amid the obscurity of the sick-room. Her mien 
was chastened and pensive : she spoke gently. 

' Mr. Moore, how are you to-night? ' 

' I have not been very ill, and am now better.' 

' I heard that you complained of thirst : I have brought 
you some grapes : can you taste one ? ' 

1 No : but I thank you for remembering me.' 

' Just one.' 

From the rich cluster that filled a small basket held in 
her hand, she severed a berry and offered it to his lips. He 
shook his head, and turned aside his flushed face. 

' But what then can I bring you instead ? You have no 


wish for fruit ; yet I see that your lips are parched. What 
beverage do you prefer ? ' 

' Mrs. Gill supplies me with toast-and-water : I like it 

Silence fell for some minutes. 

' Do you suffer ? Have you pain ? ' 

1 Very little.' 

' What made you ill ? ' 


' I wonder what caused this fever ? To what do you 
attribute it ? ' 

' Miasma, perhaps malaria. This is autumn, a season 
fertile in fevers.' 

' I hear you often visit the sick in Briarfield, and 
Nunnely too, with Mr. Hall : you should be on your guard : 
temerity is not wise.' 

' That reminds me, Miss Keeldar, that perhaps you had 
better not enter this chamber or come near this couch. I 
do not believe my illness is infectious : I scarcely fear ' 
(with a sort of smile) ' you will take it ; but why should you 
run even the shadow of a risk ? Leave me.' 

' Patience : I will go soon ; but I should like to do some- 
thing for you before I depart any little service ' 

' They will miss you below.' 

' No, the gentlemen are still at table.' 

' They will not linger long : Sir Philip Nunnely is no 
wine-bibber, and I hear him just now pass from the dining- 
room to the drawing-room.' 

' It is a servant.' 

' It is Sir Philip, I know his step.' 

1 Your hearing is acute.' 

' It is never dull, and the sense seems sharpened at 
present. Sir Philip was here to tea last night. I heard 
you sing to him some song which he had brought you. I 
heard him, when he took his departure at eleven o'clock, 
call you out on to the pavement, to look at the evening 


' You must be nervously sensitive.' 

' I heard him kiss your hand.' 

' Impossible ! ' 

4 No ; my chamber is over the hall, the window just 
above the front door, the sash was a little raised, for I felt 
feverish : you stood ten minutes with him on the steps : I 
heard your discourse, every word, and I heard the salute. 
Henry, give me some water.' 

' Let me give it him.' 

But he half rose to take the glass from young Sympson, 
and declined her attendance. 

' And can I do nothing ? ' 

1 Nothing : for you cannot guarantee me a night's peace- 
ful rest, and it is all I at present want.' 

4 You do not sleep well ? ' 

' Sleep has left me.' 

' Yet you said you were not very ill ? ' 

' I am often sleepless when in high health.' 

4 If I had power, I would lap you in the most placid 
slumber ; quite deep and hushed, without a dream.' 

' Blank annihilation ! I do not ask that.' 

' With dreams of all you most desire.' 

4 Monstrous delusions ! The sleep would be delirium, 
the waking death.' 

4 Your wishes are not so chimerical : you are no 
visionary ? ' 

4 Miss Keeldar, I suppose you think so ; but my character 
is not, perhaps, quite as legible to you as a page of the last 
new novel might be.' 

' That is possible. . . . But this sleep : I should like to 
woo it to your pillow to win for you its favour. If I took 

a book and sat down, and read some pages ? I can 

well spare half-an-hour.' 

' Thank you, but I will not detain you.' 

4 1 would read softly.' 

' It would not do. I am too feverish and excitable to 


bear a soft, cooing, vibrating voice close at my ear. You 
had better leave me. 1 

' Well, I will go.' 

1 And no good-night ? ' 

1 Yes, sir, yes. Mr. Moore, good-night.' (Exit Shirley.) 

1 Henry, my boy, go to bed now : it is time you had 
some repose.' 

' Sir, it would please me to watch at your bed-side all 

' Nothing less called for : I am getting better : there, go.' 

' Give me your blessing, sir.' 

' God bless you, my best pupil ! ' 

' You never call me your dearest pupil ! ' 

' No, nor ever shall.' 

Possibly Miss Keeldar resented her former teacher's 
rejection of her courtesy : it is certain she did not repeat the 
offer of it. Often as her light step traversed the gallery in 
the course of a day, it did not again pause at his door ; nor 
did her ' cooing, vibrating voice ' disturb a second time the 
hush of the sick-room. A sick-room, indeed, it soon ceased 
to be ; Mr. Moore's good constitution quickly triumphed 
over his indisposition : in a few days he shook it off, and 
resumed his duties as tutor. 

That ' Auld Langsyne ' had still its authority both with 
preceptor and scholar, was proved by the manner in which 
he sometimes promptly passed the distance she usually 
maintained between them, and put down her high reserve 
with a firm, quiet hand. 

One afternoon the Sympson family were gone out to 
take a carriage airing. Shirley, never sorry to snatch a 
reprieve from their society, had remained behind, detained 
by business, as she said. The business a little letter- 
writingwas soon despatched after the yard-gates had 
closed on the carriage : Miss Keeldar betook herself to the 


It was a peaceful autumn day. The gilding of the Indian 
summer mellowed the pastures far and wide. The russet 
woods stood ripe to be stript, but were yet full of leaf. The 
purple of heath-bloom, faded but not withered, tinged the 
hills. The beck wandered down to the Hollow, through a 
silent district ; no wind followed its course, or haunted its 
woody borders. Fieldhcad gardens bore the seal of gentle 
decay. On the walks, swept that morning, yellow leaves 
had fluttered down again. Its time of flowers, and even of 
fruits, was over; but a scantling of apples enriched the 
trees ; only a blossom here and there expanded pale and 
delicate amidst a knot of faded leaves. 

These single flowers the last of their race Shirley 
culled as she wandered thoughtfully amongst the beds. She 
was fastening into her girdle a hueless and scentless nosegay, 
when Henry Sympson called to her as he came limping from 
the house. 

' Shirley, Mr. Moore would be glad to see you in the 
school-room and to hear you read a little French, if you 
have no more urgent occupation.' 

The messenger delivered his commission very simply, as 
if it were a mere matter of course. 

' Did Mr. Moore tell you to say that ? ' 

' Certainly : why not ? And now, do come, and let us 
once more be as we were at Sympson -grove. We used to 
have pleasant school-hours in those days.' 

Miss Keeldar, perhaps, thought that circumstances were 
changed since then ; however, she made no remark, but 
after a little reflection quietly followed Henry. 

Entering the school-room, she inclined her head with a 
decent obeisance, as had been her wont in former times ; 
she removed her bonnet, and hung it up beside Henry's cap. 
Louis Moore sat at his desk, turning the leaves of a book, 
open before him, and marking passages with his pencil ; he 
just moved, in acknowledgment of her curtsey, but did not 

' You proposed to read to me a few nights ago," said he. 


' I could not hear you then ; my attention is now at your 
service. A little renewed practice in French may not be 
unprofitable : your accent, I have observed, begins to 

1 What book shall I take ? ' 

' Here are the posthumous works of St. Pierre. Read a 
few pages of the " Fragments de 1'Amazone." ' 

She accepted the chair which he had placed in readiness 
near his own the volume lay on his desk there was but 
one between them, her sweeping curls drooped so low as to 
hide the page from him. 

' Put back your hair,' he said. 

For one moment, Shirley looked not quite certain 
whether she would obey the request or disregard it : a 
flicker of her eye beamed furtive on the professor's face ; 
perhaps if he had been looking at her harshly or timidly, or 
if one undecided line had marked his countenance, she would 
have rebelled, and the lesson had ended there and then ; 
but he was only awaiting her compliance as calm as 
marble, and as cool. She threw the veil of tresses behind 
her ear. It was well her face owned an agreeable outline, 
and that her cheek possessed the polish and the roundness 
of early youth, or, thus robbed of a softening shade, the con- 
tours might have lost their grace. But what mattered that 
in the present society ? Neither Calypso nor Eucharis cared 
to fascinate Mentor. 

She began to read. The language had become strange 
to her tongue ; it faltered : the lecture flowed unevenly, 
impeded by hurried breath, broken by Anglicised tones. She 

' I can't do it. Read me a paragraph, if you please, Mr. 

What lie read, she repeated : she caught his accent in 
three minutes. 

' Tres bien,' was the approving comment at the close of 
the piece. 

' C'est presque le Fran^ais rattrape 1 , n'est-ce pas ? ' 


' You could not write French as you once could, I dare- 

say ? ' 

' Oh ! no. I should make strange work of my concords 

' You could not compose the devoir of " La Premiere 
Femme Savante ? ' 

' Do you still remember that rubbish ? ' 

' Every line.' 

' I doubt you.' 

' I will engage to repeat it word for word.' 

' You would stop short at the first Hue.' 

' Challenge me to the experiment.' 

' I challenge you.' 

He proceeded to recite the following : he gave it in 
French, but we must translate, on pain of being unintelligible 
to some readers. 

And it came to pass when men began to multiply on the face of the 
earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw 
the daughters of men that they were fair ; and they took them wives of 
all which they chose.' 

This was in the dawn of time, before the morning stars 
were set, and while they yet sang together. 

The epoch is so remote, the mists and dewy grey of 
matin twilight veil it with so vague an obscurity, that all 
distinct feature of custom, all clear line of locality, evade 
perception and baffle research. It must suffice to know that 
the world then existed ; that men peopled it ; that man's 
nature, with its passions, sympathies, pains, and pleasures, 
informed the planet and gave it soul. 

A certain tribe colonized a certain spot on the globe ; of 
what race this tribe unknown : in what region that spot 
untold. We usually think of the East when we refer to 
transactions of that date ; but who shall declare that there 
was no life in the West, the South, the North ? What is to 
disprove that this tribe, instead of camping under palm- 


groves in Asia, wandered beneath island oak-woods rooted 
in our own seas of Europe ? 

It is no sandy plain, nor any circumscribed and scant 
oasis I seem to realize. A forest valley, with rocky sides 
and brown profundity of shade, formed by tree crowding on 
tree, descends deep before me. Here, indeed, dwell human 
beings, but so few, and in alleys so thick-branched and over- 
arched, they are neither heard nor seen. Are they savage ? 
doubtless. They live by the crook and the bow : half 
shepherds, half hunters, their flocks wander wild as their 
prey. Are they happy ? no : not more happy than we are 
at this day. Are they good ? no : not better than our- 
selves : their nature is our nature human both. There is 
one in this tribe too often miserable a child bereaved of 
both parents. None cares for this child : she is fed some- 
times, but oftener forgotten : a hut rarely receives her : the 
hollow tree and chill cavern are her home. Forsaken, lost, 
and wandering, she lives more with the wild beast and bird 
than with her own kind. Hunger and cold are her comrades : 
sadness hovers over, and solitude besets her round. Un- 
heeded and unvalued, she should die : but she both lives 
and grows : the green wilderness nurses her, and becomes 
to her a mother : feeds her on juicy berry, on saccharine 
root and nut. 

There is something in the air of this clime which fosters 
life kindly : there must be something, too, in its dews, which 
heals with sovereign balm. Its gentle seasons exaggerate 
no passion, no sense ; its temperature tends to haiTnony ; its 
breezes, you would say, bring down from heaven the germ 
of pure thought, and purer feeling. Not grotesquely 
fantastic are the forms of cliff and foliage ; not violently 
vivid the colouring of flower and bird : in all the grandeur 
of these forests there is repose ; in all their freshness there 
is tenderness. 

The gentle charm vouchsafed to flower and tree, 
bestowed on deer and dove, has not been denied to the 
human nursling. All solitary, she has sprung up straight 


and graceful. Nature cast her features in a fine mould ; 
they have matured in their pure, accurate first lines, un- 
altered by the shocks of disease. No fierce dry blast has 
dealt rudely with the surface of her frame ; no burning sun 
has crisped or withered her tresses : her form gleams ivory- 
white through the trees ; her hair flows plenteous, long, and 
glossy ; her eyes not dazzled by vertical fires, beam in the 
shade large and open, and full and dewy : above those eyes, 
when the breeze bares her forehead, shines an expanse fair 
and ample, a clear, candid page, whereon knowledge, 
should knowledge ever come, might write a golden record. 
You see in the desolate young savage nothing vicious or 
vacant ; she haunts the wood harmless and thoughtful : 
though of what one so untaught can think, it is not easy to 

On the evening of one summer day, before the Flood, 
being utterly alone for she had lost all trace of her tribe, 
who had wandered leagues away, she knew not where, she 
went up from the vale, to watch Day take leave and Night 
arrive. A crag, overspread by a tree, was her station : the 
oak-roots, turfed and mossed, gave a seat : the oak-boughs, 
thick-leaved, wove a canopy. 

Slow and grand the Day withdrew, passing in purple 
fire, and parting to the farewell of a wild, low chorus from 
the woodlands. Then Night entered, quiet as death : the 
wind fell, the birds ceased singing. Now every nest held 
happy mates, and hart and hind slumbered blissfully safe in 
their lair. 

The girl sat, her body still, her soul astir ; occupied, how- 
ever, rather in feeling than in thinking, in wishing, than 
hoping, -in imagining, than projecting. She felt the world, 
the sky, the night, boundlessly mighty. Of all things, herself 
seemed to herself the centre, a small, forgotten atom of life, 
a spark of soul, emitted inadvertent from the great creative 
source, and now burning unmarked to waste in the heart of 
a black hollow. She asked, was she thus to burn out and 
perish, her living light doing no good, never seen, never 


needed, a star in an else starless firmament, which nor 
shepherd, nor wanderer, nor sage, nor priest, tracked as a 
guide, or read as a prophecy ? Could this be, she demanded, 
when the flame of her intelligence burned so vivid ; when 
her life beat so true, and real, and potent ; when something 
within her stirred disquieted, and restlessly asserted a God- 
given strength, for which it insisted she should find exercise? 

She gazed abroad on Heaven and Evening : Heaven and 
Evening gazed back on her. She bent down, searching 
bank, hill, river, spread dim below. All she questioned re- 
sponded by oracles : she heard, she was impressed ; but she 
could not understand. Above her head she raised her hands 
joined together. 

' Guidance help comfort come ! ' was her cry. 

There was no voice, nor any that answered. 

She waited, kneeling, steadfastly looking up. Yonder 
sky was sealed : the solemn stars shone alien and remote. 

At last, one over-stretched chord of her agony slacked : 
she thought Something above relented : she felt as if Some- 
thing far round drew nigher : she heard as if Silence spoke. 
There was no language, no word, only a tone. 

Again -a fine, full, lofty tone, a deep, soft sound, like a 
storm whispering, made twilight undulate. 

Once more, profounder, nearer, clearer, it rolled har- 

Yet, again a distinct voice passed between Heaven 

and Earth. 

' Eva ! ' 

If Eva were not this woman's name, she had none. She 

' Here am I.' 

1 Eva ! ' 

' Oh, Night ! (it can be but Night that speaks) I am here ! ' 

The voice, descending, reached Earth. 

' Eva ! ' 

' Lord ! ' she cried, ' behold thine handmaid ! ' 

She had her religion : all tribes held some creed. 


' I come : a Comforter 1 ' 

' Lord, come quickly ! ' 

The Evening flushed full of hope : the Air panted ; the 
Moon rising before ascended large, but her light showed 
no shape. 

1 Lean towards me, Eva. Enter my arms ; repose thus. 1 

1 Thus I lean, O Invisible, but felt ! And what art thou?' 

1 Eva, I have brought a living draught from heaven. 
Daughter of Man, drink of my cup ! ' 

' I drink it is as if sweetest dew visited my lips in a full 
current. My arid heart revives : my affliction is lightened : 
my strait and struggle ai*e gone. And the night changes ! 
the wood, the hill, the moon, the wide sky all change ! ' 

' All change, and for ever. I take from thy vision, dark- 
ness : I loosen from thy faculties, fetters ! I level in thy 
path, obstacles : I, with my presence, fill vacancy : I claim 
as mine the lost atom of life : I take to myself the spark of 
soul burning, heretofore, forgotten ! ' 

' Oh, take me ! Oh, claim me ! This is a god.' 

1 This is a son of God : one who feels himself in the 
portion of life that stirs you : he is suffered to reclaim his 
own, and so to foster and aid that it shall not perish 

' A Son of God ! Am I indeed chosen ? ' 

1 Thou only in this land. I saw thee that thou wert fair : 
I knew thee that thou wert mine. To me it is given to 
rescue, to sustain, to cherish, mine own. Acknowledge in 
me that Seraph on earth, named Genius." 

' My glorious Bridegroom ! True Dayspring from on 
high ! All I would have, at last I possess. I receive a 
revelation. The dark hint, the obscure whisper, which have 
haunted me from childhood, are interpreted. Thou art He I 
sought. God-born, take me, thy bride ! ' 

1 Unhumblwl, I can take what is mine. Did I not give 
from the altar the very flame which lit Eva's being ? Come 
again into the heaven whence thou wert sent.' 

That Presence, invisible, but mighty, gathered her in like 


a lamb to the fold; that voice, soft, but all-pervading, 
vibrated through her heart like music. Her eye received 
no image : and yet a sense visited her vision and her brain 
as of the serenity of stainless air, the power of sovereign 
seas, the majesty of marching stars, the energy of colliding 
elements, the rooted endurance of hills wide based, and, 
above all, as of the lustre of heroic beauty rushing victorious 
on the Night, vanquishing its shadows like a diviner sun. 

Such was the bridal-hour of Genius and Humanity. 
Who shall rehearse the tale of their after-union ? Who 
shall depict its bliss and bale ? Who shall tell how He, 
between whom and the Woman God put enmity, forged 
deadly plots to break the bond or defile its purity? Who 
shall record the long strife between Serpent and Seraph? 
How still the Father of Lies insinuated evil into Good 
pride into wisdom grossness into glory pain into bliss 
poison into passion ? How the ' dreadless Angel ' defied, 
resisted, and repelled ? How, again and again, he refined 
the polluted cup, exalted the debased emotion, rectified the 
perverted impulse, detected the lurking venom, baffled the 
frontless temptation purified, justified, watched, arid with- 
stood? How, by his patience, by his strength, by that 
unutterable excellence he held from God his Origin this 
faithful Seraph fought for Humanity a good fight through 
time ; and, when Time's course closed, and Death was 
encountered at the end, barring with fleshless arm the 
portals of Etci'nity, how Genius still held close his dying 
bride, sustained her through the agony of the passage, bore 
her triumphant into his own home Heaven ; restored her, 
redeemed, to Jehovah her Maker; and at last, before Angel 
and Archangel, crowned her with the crown of Immortality. 

Who shall, of these things, write the chronicle ? 

'I never could correct that composition/ observed Shirley, 
as Moore concluded. ' Your censor-pencil scored it with 
condemnatory lines, whose signification I strove vainly to 


She had taken a crayon from the tutor's desk, and was 
drawing little leaves, fragments of pillars, broken crosses, 
on the margin of the book. 

1 French may be half -forgotten, but the habits of the 
French lesson are retained, I see,' said Louis : ' my books 
would now, as erst, be unsafe with you. My newly bound 
St. Pierre would soon be like my Eacine : Miss Keeldar, 
her mark traced on every page.' 

Shirley dropped her crayon as if it burned her fingers. 

'Tell me what were the faults of that devoir?' she asked. 
' Were they grammatical errors, or did you object to the 
substance ? ' 

' I never said that the lines I drew were indications of 
faults at all. You would have it that such was the case, 
and I refrained from contradiction.' 

' What else did they denote ? ' 

' No matter now.' 

1 Mr. Moore,' cried Henry, ' make Shirley repeat some of 
the pieces she used to say so well by heart.' 

' If I ask for any, it will be " Le Cheval DompteV' ' said 
Moore, trimming with his penknife the pencil Miss Keeldar 
had worn to a stump. 

She turned aside her head ; the neck, the clear cheek, 
forsaken by their natural veil, were seen to flush warm. 

' Ah ! she has not forgotten, you see, sir,' said Henry, 
exultant. ' She knows how naughty she was.' 

A smile, which Shirley would not permit to expand, 
made her lip tremble ; she bent her face, and hid it half 
with her arms, half in her curls, which, as she stooped fell 
loose again. 

' Certainly, I was a rebel ! ' she answered. 

' A rebel ! ' repeated Henry. ' Yes : you and papa had 
quarrelled terribly, and you set both him and mamma, and 
Mrs. Pryor, and everybody, at defiance : you said he had 
insulted you 

' He had insulted me,' interposed Shirley. 

' And you wanted to leave Sympson Grove directly, 


You packed your things up, and papa threw them out of 
your trunk ; mamma cried Mrs. Pryor cried ; they both 
stood wringing their hands, begging you to be patient, and 
you knelt on the floor with your things and your upturned box 
before you, looking, Shirley looking why, in one of your 
passions. Your features, in such passions, are not distorted : 
they are fixed, but quite beautiful : you scarcely look angry, 
only resolute, and in a certain haste ; yet one feels that, at 
such times, an obstacle cast across your path would be split 
as with lightning. Papa lost heart, and called Mr. Moore. 1 

' Enough, Henry.' 

' No : it is not enough. I hardly know how Mr. Moore 
managed, except that I recollect he suggested to papa that 
agitation would bring on his gout ; and then he spoke quietly 
to the ladies, and got them away ; and afterwards he said to 
you, Miss Shirley, that it was of no use talking or lecturing 
now, but that the tea-things were just brought into the 
school-room, and he was very thirsty, and he would be glad 
if you would leave your packing for the present and come 
and make a cup of tea for him and me. You came : you 
would not talk at first ; but soon you softened and grew 
cheerful. Mr. Moore began to tell us about the Continent, 
the war, and Buonaparte ; subjects we were both fond of 
listening to. After tea he said we should neither of us leave 
him that evening : he would not let us stray out of his sight, 
lest we should again get into mischief. We sat one on each 
side of him : we were so happy. I never passed so pleasant 
an evening. The next day he gave you, missy, a lecture of 
an hour, and wound it up by marking you a piece to learn in 
Bossuet as a punishment-lesson, " Le Cheval Dompte." 
You learned it instead of packing up, Shirley. \\c heard no 
more of your running away. Mr. Moore used to tease you 
on the subject for a year afterwards.' 

'She never said a lesson with greater spirit,' subjoined 
Moore. 'She then, for the first time, gave me the treat of 
hearing my native tongue spoken without accent by an 
English girl.' 


I She was as sweet as summer-cherries for a month after- 
wards,' struck in Henry: 'a, good hearty quarrel always left 
Shirley's temper better than it found it. 1 

' You talk of me as if I were not present,' observed Miss 
Keeldar, who had not yet lifted her face. 

' Are you sure you arc present ? ' asked Moore : ' there 
have been moments since my arrival here, when I have been 
tempted to inquire of the lady of Fieldhead if she knew what 
had become of my former pupil ? ' 

' She is here now.' 

' I see her, and humble enough ; but I would neither 
advise Harry, nor others, to believe too implicitly in the 
humility which one moment can hide its blushing face like a 
modest little child, and the next lift it pale and lofty as a 
marble Juno.' 

' One man in times of old, it is said, imparted vitality to 
the statue he had chiselled. Others may have the contrary 
gift of turning life to stone.' 

Moore paused on this observation before he replied to i